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Graham Walshe retires from Brother after 42 years

Friday 28 April marks the end of an era for Brother, with Executive Chairman Graham Walshe departing after more than 42 years with the company. 

Graham stepped down as Brother New Zealand's Managing Director last year, remaining on as Executive Chairman with the intention of retiring in the near future. His last official role was to close out the AGM.

Graham became a paper boy when he was just six years old, and he’s worked ever since. His formal career started as a retail salesman for NCR Corporation in 1974. He sold supermarket and hospitality systems, and rose to the position of New Zealand Divisional Manager of Retail Systems.

He joined Brother Distributors Ltd. as a Marketing Manager in 1981, and became Executive Chairman in 1985. He was influential in restructuring the company to Brother International (NZ) Ltd. in 1991.

Plainly, there’s a lot to reflect on when looking back over a 42-year tenure. Some of Graham’s highlights include:

  • Taking the typewriter market share from 14% to 69% in two years by securing greater education business and exposing our brand in an influential environment.
  • Taking fax sales from genesis to number one market share in just three years, overtaking highly established competitors.
  • A handful of Brother Chairman’s Awards: 
    - Top Executive 2001
    - Top Marketing Executive 2009 (number one market share in every category)
    - Top Sales Performance 2014
  • Forming a new organisation as an original Trustee of Pacific Cooperation Foundation. Serving 13 years as Deputy Chairman.
  • Establishing an Asia-Pacific/Middle East/Africa regional team to implement branding, governance, and localisation rules, and establishing global corporate and MPS sales.
  • Implementing a 7-year strategy to become a full member of the All-of-Government Print Technology and Associated Services panel, getting access to a new business opportunity with significant growth potential. 
  • Becoming the first company in the Brother Group to have distributorship for Konica Minolta.
  • Moving the Brother head office from Wellington to Tauranga in 2016, bringing the business closer to the majority of our market, saving nearly $1 million in overheads, significantly reducing our emissions, improving service delivery and starting a 24/7 helpdesk.

Among these standout achievements, Graham says the main strategy has always been on people, both customers and staff. Brother has consistently been ranked number one for service by independent researchers throughout his time at Brother, and he believes being focused on customer solutions is a key reason why.

Graham says he’s particularly proud of Brother being an equal opportunity employer, with leading employee-centric strategies that honour, empower, and encourage staff.

Graham will remain connected to Brother as he continues working on our Tonga Project, an initiative to help Tongan subsistence farmers become more self-sufficient. He was instrumental in implementing and developing the project more than nine years ago, and will play a key role in establishing a governance group to allow the project to grow.

Graham will be succeeded as Chairman by Brother Managing Director Warwick Beban, who was elected unopposed at the AGM on Friday and paid tribute to the incredible service Graham gave this company.

“Graham’s influence on Brother is difficult to understate. He has devoted 42 years of outstanding service to seeing the company succeed, and the fact it has done so while also being a responsible, ethical business is a considerable achievement.”

Graham Walshe
Brother NZ
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