Air New Zealand CFO's leadership lauded

Communications is key, says Rob McDonald

Air New Zealand landed a supreme award for financial leadership at the inaugural national CFO awards in Auckland last night.

The company's chief financial officer (CFO) Rob McDonald took away the top award for his leadership and innovation. The judges praised his honesty and transparency, and his role in the "changing the way you fly" programme introducing the queueless check-in to airports.

New Zealand Steel's vice president finance Anthony Burg, one of three judges, said Mr McDonald's contribution to the culture of Air NZ stood out from the other finalists. The CFO's role had become increasingly important in the financial crisis, which was an underlying theme in the presentations to judges, he said.

"Organisations hit challenges that they didn't even expect to, and the CFO was up front and centre with each of the management team trying to chart a course through that."

McDonald, who leads 500 staff, said the key to his role was communicating with staff.

"There's a lot of time spent out in the business, there's a lot of time spent talking to people in the business and presenting ... Each month, I'll spend a day out in the business learning about something else."

The Finance Team of the Year was awarded to the engineering group Beca, while BNZ claimed the prize for Project Initiative of the Year for its Business Intelligence Centre of Excellence.

The inaugural awards were sponsored by Ernst & Young and presented by Fairfax Media Business Group and Conferenz.

WINNERS AND FINALISTS

CFO of the year: Winner – Rob McDonald, Air New Zealand.

Finalists – Chye Heng, Beca Group; Julian So, CTC Aviation Training.

Finance team of the year: Winner – Beca Group.

Finalist – BNZ.

Project initiative of the year:

Winner – BNZ. Finalist – Beca Group.

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