Hellaby Automotive, part of the Hellaby Holdings Group, is one of the fastest-growing automotive companies in New Zealand. With a range of businesses and brands across New Zealand and Australia, the company has grown organically and through a clearly defined acquisition strategy.

CEO Colin Daly came to the company just over two years ago, and has made his mark with a focus on employee and team engagement and customer satisfaction, which he believes are the key for companies to grow quickly and sustainably.

Colin spoke to The CEO Magazine about what he thinks makes a good leader, why people are the key to success, and his vision for the future of Hellaby Automotive.

The CEO Magazine: Can you give an overview of your professional background and how you came into your role at Hellaby Automotive?

Colin: I emigrated to New Zealand 14 years ago, almost to the day. In the UK, I worked just with one company, Sainsbury’s, and enjoyed a varied career with roles covering product management, marketing, branch management, regional operations, head office, and major projects. I was approached to come to New Zealand to run a group of Auckland-based supermarkets for Woolworths NZ, who at that time—2001—were owned by Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International. Following a takeover by Progressive Enterprises Limited, I was appointed to lead Woolworths NZ throughout New Zealand. That all happened during my first six months in the country. I then held various leadership roles within Progressive prior to becoming an NZ citizen—the key catalyst for my decision to explore further career opportunities and pathways in other industries.

My first move away from the supermarket aisles could not have been more different: accepting the challenge to head market-leading automotive parts retailer and distributor Repco New Zealand. I led New Zealand operations for a little over two years spearheading a significant business turnaround. When Repco was delisted from the ASX in 2007 and acquired by private equity company CCMP Asia, I was asked to add Australian operations to my role. I commuted between Auckland and Melbourne for just under three years. Whilst it was a very exciting and invigorating time in my career, during which we achieved outstanding results, I missed my family!