Last family link retires from Fletcher Building

Hugh Fletcher

BUSINESSDESK: Fletcher Building non-executive director Hugh Fletcher will step down from the board of the country's biggest listed construction company, ending his family's link with the firm stretching back more than 100 years.

Mr Fletcher, the second son of the late Sir James Fletcher, will retire at the end of the month as part of the board's succession arrangement for directors, the company says.

Mr Fletcher has been on the board of Fletcher Building since it was spun out of Fletcher Challenge in 2001, when the group was broken up. He was chief executive of Fletcher Challenge between 1987 and 1997.

"On behalf of the board and shareholders, I would like to acknowledge and thank Hugh for his long service and insightful contribution to Fletcher Building, and wish him well for the future," chairman Ralph Waters says.

Mr Fletcher graduated with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Commerce, with honours, from University of Auckland. He was the university's chancellor from 2004 to 2008.

He is also a director of Rubicon, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Vector and Insurance Australia Group. He is a member of the Australia and New Zealand advisory board of L.E.K. Consulting and a trustee of the New Zealand Portrait Gallery and The Fletcher Trust.

The husband of Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, Mr Fletcher played a major role in developing New Zealand industry, following in the footsteps of his fatyher and grandfather Sir James (Senior).

His brother Angus, ex-husband of former Auckland mayor Christine Fletcher, was also involved in the family firm. Brother James became managing director of Dominion Breweries. James was killed by an intruder at his Bay of Plenty holiday home in 1993.

Last month, Auckland-based Fletcher Building reported a 17% drop in construction earnings to $50 million though its backlog of building work had climbed to $1.09 billion at the end of June from $764 million a year earlier.

The shares fell 0.9% to $6.88 in trading today and have gained 11% this year.

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13 Comments & Questions

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about time,biggest flop since 'Fosbury'.

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Hugh who? The boy with the silver spoon wont be missed.

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Not a patch on his grand father or father...

He almost single handily destroyed this company in the late 1990's. The Fletchers were on a par with the Todds before he took the reins.

He should have known better. The American model of borrow and hope just doesnt work.

Executives in this world are for the most part in too much of a hurry for short term profits which generally lead to long term losses.

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Incorrect, Hugh did not single handily destory the company he was well supported by Sir Ron Trotter. Stange how we knight people who destroy shareholders weath ----- what next sir Rod Petrecivch (sorry for spelling).

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Classic 3rd generationist who lost the farm

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Look around and there is nothing in NZ now which resembles Fletcher Challenge in its prime - a group which gave so many opportunities to New Zealanders, young and old.

To be fair to Hugh, he wanted to build on the great legacy bequeath to him by his forefathers.

Hugh Fletcher tried his best but he was badly advised by the MBAs and American consultants, Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey, he loved to hire. Together they destroyed Fletcher Challenge.

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He has an M.Com (Hons) from Auckl and an MBA from Stanford.

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Academics don't necessarily make good business leaders. Many are too rigid and structured in their thinking, where decison-making is likely to be prescriptive rather than pragmatic.

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Bit of a shame, not going to dis him as I never met him but strewth the stories abound. Classic case maybe of the old truism, 1st generation makes it, 2nd one sits on it, 3rd one spends it.

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People forget that Hugh has been instrumental in the resurrection of Fletcher Building since the separation - Mike Andrews was infact the CEO of Fletcher Challenge that drove the break up strategy...

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Never came across him.
But would love to have a cup of tea with him, Sir Selwyn Cushing, Sir Wilson Whineray, John Hood and Chris Liddell....and anyone they'd like to bring along....maybe the timber industry 'researcher', at the time Cavanaugh....and ask a few questions about how NZ ended up with the biggest disaster ever (including the Cantebury quakes), with all the attendant medical problems that are now inter-generational......the ubiquitous Leaky Homes, Schools, Hospitals and Buildings Disaster.
That could balance the books.

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What are you on about Bertie? Another one of your comments that doesn't make sense.

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Yup I agree there are some questions the names you mention need to be asked as to how they foisted such a plethora of disasters on the country.

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