Rob Fyfe appointed chair of Michael Hill International

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3 Jun, 2021 03:10 AM

Rob Fyfe, the former chief executive of Air New Zealand, has been appointed chairman of Michael Hill International. Photo / Doug Sherring

Jewellery retailer Michael Hill has appointed business veteran Rob Fyfe as its new chairman.

Current chair Emma Hill – daughter of founder Sir Michael Hill – revealed she would be stepping down from the board at the end of the financial year in June.

In other changes to the board, company chief executive Daniel Bracken will become managing director in June.

Hill will remain with the company as a non-executive director. She has been a director since February 2007, appointed deputy chair in 2011 and chair in December 2015.

Fyfe was previously chief executive of Air New Zealand, where he was credited with turning around the business, he was also chief executive of merino wool clothing company Icebreaker, and later company chair.

He is currently a director of Air Canada and has been a Michael Hill board member for over seven years. Fyfe was recently appointed as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his leadership and services to business.

“Rob is an outstanding strategic and transformative leader with a track record of maximising shareholder value,” Hill said of Fyfe’s appointment as chair.

“The time is right for this transition. The company has never been in a healthier position. Our CEO Daniel is delivering exceptional results across our transformation programme. He has elevated customer experience and continues to strengthen our market position.”

In February the company posted a net profit after tax of A$38.9 million ($41.9m) for the six months to December 27, 82 per cent higher than a year earlier.

Hill said the company, which operates retail stores in New Zealand, Australia and Canada, was “at an exciting juncture” and the dual refresh would “further enhance” its growth.

Fyfe said it was “an honour and privilege” to take on the role as chair of Michael Hill and build on the four decades of work the Hill family had contributed.

“I have developed a deep understanding of the business during my seven years as director and have great confidence in the strategy that our CEO Daniel, and the management team he leads, are pursuing. I look forward to working with my fellow directors, Daniel and the wider Michael Hill team to ensure we continue to execute against this strategy and continue to develop and strengthen the Michael Hill brand in our chosen markets.”

Michael Hill was founded with a single store in Whangarei in 1979 by Sir Michael Hill and his wife Christine Hill. Today the chain operates more than 250 stores.

Its shares were last trading on the NZX at 86 cents, up from a low of 54c in January.