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Life after Paul at Southcorp

Published:  23 July, 2008

Park's vision

The successor to Mike Paul should be announced shortly, ideally before Christmas, according to Southcorp chief executive designate, Tom Park. Harpers spoke to Park at Southcorp Europe's Twickenham base on the day Paul announced that he was leaving the company after ten years (see Harpers Weekly, print edition, 17 November). Park, who joined Southcorp in March from Kraft and is due to take over as managing director and chief executive officer from Graham Kraehe next year, said Southcorp was "blessed by the quality of its products" and had a distribution network "to die for". Park, a 53-year-old, American-born naturalised Australian, said Southcorp's vision was to be "the leading global wine company". He said: "We must never accept complacency and we have to earn the right to grow." Having established brands such as Lindemans and Penfolds and the distribution platform, Park, who did two tours of duty in Vietnam and lived in England from 1984 to 1987 working for General Foods, said the next challenge was to create a closer relationship with the consumers of Southcorp's brands.

He outlined five principles: 1) to focus on core brands; 2)to simplify Southcorp's whole range by reducing the number of SKUs; 3)to reduce costs and waste; 4) to leverage resources globally; and 5)to instigate results-orientated teamwork.

Park paid tribute to Mike Paul: "He has established a strong team, a tremendous group of people working across all functions," he said. "It is sad but completely understandable that he wants to try something else at his age." Park pointed out that he did exactly the same by leaving Kraft, a company he loves. He wanted to stay in Australia and Southcorp gives him a chance to run a publicly-listed company.