From the CEO
After my two visits to Australia, I have a few observations and sentiments that I would like to share with you.
Firstly, I am pleased to be working with all of you and am truly excited about the future of our company in Australia.
Secondly, we have a number of talented and passionate people. It is clear that the team is working hard each and every day. Despite the solid efforts, we have not yet achieved the results we would all like and the results needed for long term sustainability. Obviously, that is disappointing for everyone and this is something we need to change.
The good news, however, is that we can and will make the changes necessary to return to profitability and to growth.
Why am I so confident about the future of our business in Australia given the current environment? There are many reasons for my optimism but three stand out:
- Strategy: Santa Fe’s Global 2020 Strategy is the right strategy for our company and will ensure the growth of the business on a global scale. We have completed much of Phase One of the strategy in 2015-2016, which is Building the Foundation and in 2017-2018 we move into Phase Two which is Growth.
- Technology: Our new CoreTech development will bring Santa Fe to the forefront of technology leadership in our industry. It will deliver enhanced efficiency to our business over time. It will also provide our customers with the tools and information regarding the services we are providing that no other mobility company will be able to deliver.
- Key initiatives: We have identified the key initiatives we will be focused on in 2017 and this was shared in the recent Town Hall conversation. The executive sponsors are working now to build the teams and develop the action plans which will ensure that we deliver on these initiatives. Much of my time will be focused on closely monitoring our performance in this area. We will keep you all updated on our progress over the course of the year.
So how have we started making these much needed changes? It is fairly easy to diagnose some of the key issues impacting our business (i.e. revenue decline, profitability). The working sessions with the ALT in Melbourne were used to identify the issues and to draft the key initiatives and goals required to bring about positive change.
I want to thank you all for taking the time to complete the Great Place to Work survey in October of last year, and for providing us with your feedback. I have read through the results and it is clear that we have a lot of work to do in order to receive this designation. First and foremost we must build “trust” which currently is at 49%. Our goal will be to increase trust to above 80% and the only way I know how to do this is by being open and honest with you at all times. Improving the operational and financial performance of the business will help as well.
As you all know, Andrew Simpson has decided to leave the organisation, and I understand that this may have come as a surprise to many of you and may be a cause for concern for others. Andrew has been a good colleague of mine on the GLT and I consider him a friend. I am sorry to see him go and I take this opportunity to thank him for his efforts over the past three years with the company. Not surprisingly, Andrew has agreed to remain with the company to help ensure a smooth and successful transition. Again, my thanks to Andrew for his professionalism.
We have begun our search for a new Managing Director for Santa Fe Australia and have a number of good candidates already. I am in no hurry to find our new MD as experience has taught me that it is far better to wait for the best fit than to fill the position quickly. We are looking for a strong individual who is capable of growing and leading our business in Australia to a position of preeminence in the market.
My next trip will be at the end of March when I will travel to Perth and then on to Melbourne. I am looking forward to meeting the team in Perth and to working with the team on the progress of the key initiatives in Melbourne. At some point I need to make my way to Brisbane and the Gold Coast to check on the development of the Suns. It would seem they too have some work to do in order to be in a position of preeminence in the AFL. I am not sure I will be able to provide any helpful advice.
I would like to close out by acknowledging that we have significant challenges ahead of us. However, as we say in America, “this is not my first rodeo” and we will do whatever is needed to turn our business around. My experience has taught me that the best way to view change is to consider the opportunities change brings to a company and its talent. This is the perfect opportunity for our talent to step up and shine in what will ultimately be a rewarding journey.