Rob Fyfe was previously CEO of Air New Zealand and CEO of Icebreaker. Photo / Doug Sherring
Veteran entrepreneur and pride Kiwi Rob Fyfe has been recognized for his service to business and tourism.
Fyfe, who over the past nine months has played an important role in terms of Government-private sector relations during the Covid-19 response, has been appointed as the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM).
The former chief executive of merino wool clothing company Kiwi, Icebreaker and national airline Air New Zealand has been credited for helping develop the New Zealand brand and the country’s clean, green tourism image.
Fyfe was CEO of Air New Zealand between 2005 and 2012, and his leadership helped develop the “New Zealand brand”. As CEO, he was a key driver in recognizing those who lost their lives in the Erebus 1979 and Perpignan 2008 tragedies, as well as their families. Following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, he oversaw the provision of low-cost and flexible Air New Zealand flights into and out of Christchurch.
Between 2013 and 2018 he was CEO and chairman of Icebreaker, focusing sustainable and future manufacturing efforts for New Zealand merino farmers.
Fyfe said the awards were “a great way to round out a very tumultuous year”.
He said he would celebrate the achievement with his family, and acknowledge the sacrifices they have made during his career.
“I feel very honored [have] playing roles in some very important New Zealand companies and getting this recognition means a lot to me because it has a lot to do with my sense of identity as a New Zealander, “Fyfe told the Herald.
When Fyfe left school at 17, he spent the first nine years of his working life in the Air Force, and has since worked in a number of industries and sectors.
He was previously the general manager of Bank of New Zealand and chief operating officer of ITV Digital. He has also been director of jewelry for Michael Hill International since 2014, director of Air Canada since 2017, independent director of Trilogy International, chair of the Star Alliance CEO Board, member of the Board of Governors at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), director of Antarctica New Zealand, and currently a director. Hammerforce and Craggy Range advisors.
Fyfe continues to be the Government’s Covid-19 advisor to the private sector, which acts as a link between the Government and business. She was approached for the role by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during the lockdown.
He is now focused on New Zealand’s “strategic future” and rebuilding the country and has been contracted to work through 2021.
This is not the first time Fyfe has been appointed as a government advisor. In 2018, he became an independent advisor to the Pike River’s re-entry plan.
Reflecting on the last 35 years in business, Fyfe says it has become a “collection of adventures” as he forges his own path in life.
“I’m interested in challenging things, often quite risky things for me personally in terms of job opportunities – most of them here in New Zealand, but sometimes working overseas too; it’s a collection of adventures. outstanding . “
The first 20 years are about continuing to learn and overcoming challenges, and the last 10 years have focused on giving back and mentoring young people starting their own business journeys, he said, adding that it was “just as fun” as what he was doing. has achieved itself.
The next decade of his life will be dedicated to helping others realize their ambitions and dreams, says Fyfe, through investing in start-ups and providing guidance.
His time at Air New Zealand, including when he was recognized as the best airline in the world for two consecutive years, was a highlight of his career. When she joined the company, she was tasked with getting Kiwi to fall in love with the airline again.
“We are working really hard to try and re-create the loving relationship between New Zealanders and the national airline, and we are making a lot of progress. We are reviving the Air New Zealand personality and it feels like a real sense of accomplishment in time.”