Rob Campbell, NBR journalists pick up gongs

This year’s winner of the New Zealand Shareholders Association’s 2017 Beacon Award is Rob Campbell, chairman of Tourism Holdings and Summerset, and chairman-elect of Sky City.

The annual award – which recognises business leaders who demonstrate bravery in standing out from the crowd on controversial issues, are respectful of owners and ensure fair and equitable outcomes – was presented at an event last night at Auckland’s Northern Club.

The evening also featured the inaugural New Zealand Shareholders Association Business Journalism Awards, at which a two-all draw between NBR and was broken by NBR’s Karen Scherer taking out the Business Journalist of the Year Award.

Ms Scherer won the feature story category for her stories about an accounting scandal at Fuji Xerox (the other finalist was NBR’s Tim Hunter, with his ‘A $6.6m whodunnit’).

The Young Business Journalist Award was won by NBR’s Jason Walls.

Jenee Tibshraeny of won the business news category (NBR’s Jenny Ruth was the other finalist, with early stories from her ultimately revelatory, change-making Fletcher Building series) while that website’s Gareth Vaughn won for business commentary (the other finalist was Rod Oram).

Ms Scherer’s awards were both a fitting tribute and a vindication for the investigative reporter, given the NZSA’s awards were created as a result of the fallout from media organisations abandoning the now-defunct EY Business Journalism Awards, after organiser EY disqualified her entry on the scandal involving its former client, Fuji Xerox.

Rob Campbell won the Beacon Award for 2017

Mr Campbell, meanwhile, was cited for “not just because of the strong performance of listed companies he chairs, nor even his demonstrated ability to manage assets, build organisational capabilities or bring needed change … [but for] his willingness to speak out on issues without fear or favour,” said NZSA chairman John Hawkins.

“His comments around directors needing to take a more hands-on approach, to manage the managers, to not be tick box governors, the limited imagination of some boards and the disconnect between reality and how bankers and finance professionals are remunerated may not be universally applauded. But all are pertinent and encourage necessary dialogue and debate.

“Rob has spoken about directorships requiring a holistic approach. NZSA believes his career has demonstrated exactly that,” Mr Hawkins said.

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