ExecuTrain disputes troubles

New Zealand training company ExecuTrain says it's planning to expand despite battling a slew of money and contract disputes.

New Zealand training company ExecuTrain says it’s planning to expand despite battling a slew of money and contract disputes.

A former contract trainer claims to be owed wages from October, the company has had the phone lines of its four offices (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Hamilton) disconnected, and the US franchise owner, ExecuTrain Corporation, claims to have cancelled the master franchise agreement because of non-payment of royalties.

ExecuTrain customers include Mighty River Power, RD1, NZMP and Power Farming.

Sydney-based John Threlfall, who owns ExecuTrain in New Zealand, says the string of disputes paints an untrue picture of the company’s situation. Threlfall, who also owns ExecuTrain in Sydney, says the company is planning to expand beyond providing “desktop training” into other areas and has been restructuring over the past six months.

Regarding the disconnected phones, he says ExecuTrain is in dispute with Telecom, but wouldn’t comment further.

He says confidentiality restrictions prevent him from talking in detail about the master franchise agreement with ExecuTrain Corporation, but claims the franchise is still operational.

John Peddar, the US-based managing director of ExecuTrain International, says Execu-

Train Corporation terminated the master franchise with Threlfall in April last year.

“All I want to say about the reasons for our termination of the master franchise agreement with Mr Threlfall is that he was in default and did not abide by the terms of the agreement,” Peddar says.

He says ExecuTrain in Melbourne is the only location authorised to operate in Australia and that there are no authorised locations in New Zealand.

ExecuTrain began operating in New Zealand in July 2001 when Australian company Binyl bought Computerland’s training business. Computerland head Chris Mackay says at the time the business was turning over $3 million to $4 million a year.

When Sydney-based ExecuTrain general manager Anne Kirby was asked why staff in New Zealand hadn’t been paid she expressed surprise that Computerworld was pursuing the matter given that the parent company of its publisher, IDG NZ, “was a major owner of ExecuTrain”. IDG US sold its minority shareholding in ExecuTrain in April 2002.

She went on to say that since Binyl assumed ownership of Computerland’s training arm a year ago, “we have restructured the organisation in line with ExecuTrain global and, as you would know, managing change is never easy and it doesn’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time”. She did not respond to questions about payment of staff.

Stuart Young of Power Farming says staff who went on the ExecuTrain courses found them to be of good quality and useful.

A client who didn’t want to be named described the service given by the company as very good. However, one of her reasons for using the company was its widespread of offices throughout the country. The last time she checked the Tauranga office had closed down.

Threlfall says the Tauranga, Palmerston North and New Plymouth offices were run by a franchisee of his company, Binyl Pty, and that the franchise holder decided to discontinue the franchise.

Threlfall says the company has gained NZQA recognition as a private training establishment and is providing training for the Upper Hutt-based New Zealand International Campus. He says a complete outline of ExecuTrain’s plans will be available in two to three weeks.

Meanwhile, Downing Centre Court in Sydney confirms that Binyl has had a number of matters against it in the court, in 1996, 2001 and currently. All are for debt recovery.

Threlfall says he is not aware of those matters and will look into them.

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