Steve Allen reflects on five years on the FMG Board

It’s easy to feel passionate about FMG and its core purpose to create “a better deal for rural New Zealand” and a vision to “help build strong and prosperous rural communities”.

From a governance perspective, the Board is charged under the Companies Act to manage the affairs of the company, known as a corporate body, and act in FMG’s best interests. In practise, we delegate the running of the company to the CEO—in FMG’s case, Adam Heath. So our most important role becomes the recruitment, support, retention and, ultimately, respectful retirement of our CEO.

Last year was a big year for our Board and FMG. Chris Black retired as our long serving and quite outstanding CEO. We went through a very thorough search process to appoint Adam—an equally outstanding person who I have no doubt will lead the Mutual with excellence into its next phase.

Our role now becomes one of support, performance monitoring, strategy endorsing and risk managing. Giving the appropriate guidance to Adam to allow him to do his job.

A couple of final thoughts as I step down from the FMG Board.

Firstly, I like to think of FMG ‘the corporate body’ as a person. FMG cannot speak to us directly but can give us plenty of signals. If we listen, serve and give back to FMG, it will in turn give back to us—our employees, members and community. If we don’t give back with service leadership or investment in our people, FMG will let us know in the end. Equally if we do our job well, FMG will thrive forever.

My second thought is equally simple. Stay true to the core purpose and vision when building strategy. A business does not tend to ‘go broke’, it tends to ’grow broke’. Balancing our worthy strategic growth aspirations with building a better business is a great challenge we must pursue relentlessly. FMG will give us the signals if we go off this path and we must listen.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve FMG. It’s been an honour and a privilege.

PS. I’m not retiring, just resetting!

Ngā mihi

Steve Allen

FMG Member Director