Chair since: 2008
Group: TECR 804, TECR 805
Born in London in 1954, Simon went to public schools and then studied at the University of Bristol to complete a dental degree with distinction in biochemistry in 1976. This led to partnership in a private dental practice for seven years specialising in intricate crown and bridge work.
He sold his partnership in 1983 having identified a passion to develop new business ideas. His first venture was into external catering with its largest function being a conference for 6000 people. At the same time he initiated a small leisure company which began with home sunbed hire. This grew into a unique (at the time), high end solarium centre. retail sales and commercial work were added, with a number of awards for top salesperson in the UK for JK Ergoline and Solana AB.
To develop the company Simon sourced a variety of national distribution agreements from overseas both for capital equipment and ancillary products. French, Swedish, German and USA manufacturers supplied new products to his UK company. Two examples were the first cosmetics portfolio for tanning (later sold off as a subsidiary) and disposable hygienic goggles for sun tanning (selling 32 million pairs p.a. by 2001). In 1991 a new agreement was made with the German manufacture of sauna, steam and spa technology, Klafs, and Simon introduced a series of UK market changing concepts. This led to over 60 large spa installations and hundreds of smaller ones, both in the commercial and domestic market.
Highlights would include designing the largest wet spa area in the UK for DeVere hotels (approx £1M), and running out multiple sites for the David Lloyd’s Next Generation group (one in Adelaide, Australia), Virgin Active, Holmes Place (UK and Belgium) and Total Fitness. The company became the largest private company of its type in Europe and while overseeing and developing the team Simon continued his passion for innovation and developed new brands including beauty products and an art gallery.
In 2001 after a successful sale of the business, Simon and his wife emigrated to NZ and he became temporary CEO and board member for a charitable trust. His role included managing and rebuilding a TV station, animation studio, new building works and educational ventures. He was successful in restructuring many of the trust elements, which included developing international sales for the animation products.
After leaving the trust in 2003 the US partners for the animation products asked him to continue as their consultant and he worked to restructure the related companies to enable the product to be brought to market. Recent success has been a landmark license deal involving US, NZ and Chinese partners.
While continuing IP sales work in other areas, Simon now consults and coaches a wide range of people with special interest at ‘moments of rapid change and growth’. His company Carista Ltd. develops game changing inceptions in thinking for clients. This can be in personal or company branding.
His motto is simply ‘making people great’.
Simon holds four diplomas in coaching and in 2008 became a NZ Chair for the TEC. He has taught at AUT and other institutions.
Entrepreneurial ventures, international sales, business mentoring, branding and conceptual thinking for people and business.