The art of flight

Run­ning a busi­ness is like pi­lot­ing a plane; you can be fly­ing high one minute and crash land­ing the next. Of­fice Brands CEO Gavin Ward takes us through the pro­cesses of stay­ing air­borne and land­ing softly.

Business First - - PROFILE -

Gavin Ward is a pi­lot. Sure he can fly a plane, but he has also proved him­self adept at steer­ing a busi­ness. In fact, he has a long and sto­ried jour­ney through heavy clouds and blue skies: he has run large or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing Lead­ing Edge Group where he served for 21 years and The Aus­tralian Mu­sic Re­tail­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (AMRA). He also served as Gen­eral Man­ager – sales and mar­ket­ing for Akai Elec­tron­ics.

That’s a lot of nav­i­ga­tion and even more ex­pe­ri­ence. If run­ning a busi­ness was mea­sured in flight hours, Gavin- could fly a light plane to China, where he is cur­rently procur­ing busi­ness for Of­fice Brands.

It was his time at Lead­ing Edge, which re­ally proved his met­tle as a leader/pi­lot. When Gavin ar­rived there, the com­pany was a two-man op­er­a­tion. When he left the Aus­tralian fran­chised buy­ing group op­er­a­tion ex­panded to cater for 10 dif­fer­ent ver­ti­cal mar­kets in­clud­ing Com­put­ers, Elec­tron­ics, Dig­i­tal Pho­tog­ra­phy, Tele­coms, Jew­ellery, Lin­gerie, Golf, Books, Video and Mu­sic meet­ing the needs of over 1500 fran­chised stores and a broad base of over 450 sup­pli­ers.

So when he went to Of­fice Brands, Gavin knew a thing or two about growth propo­si­tions, which is ex­actly what this sup­plies com­pany wanted. In fact Gavin has been tasked with swelling the of­fice prod­ucts in­dus­try un­der three fran­chise ban­ners.

One is Of­fice Na­tional, the pre­dom­i­nant brand with 100 stores across Aus­tralia. Of­fice Prod­ucts De­pot is a brand bought from New Zealand, which has 30 stores in the land of the long white cloud.

Then there’s a sep­a­rate en­tity en­tirely. O-Net is an un­branded propo­si­tion for

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