Wesfarmers' 100th birthday book launched

28 Feb, 2014 01:00 AM
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RAS president and former Wesfarmers divisional manager Hugh Harding (left), with wife Laraine and Kellerberrin farmers David Leake, Debbie Pym and their son Alex Leake. David's great uncle Maitland Leake was one of the instigators of the first informal meeting at Kellerberrin in 1914 which led to the formation of Westralian Farmers Ltd (now Wesfarmers).
For companies to succeed you need vision supported by strategies,
RAS president and former Wesfarmers divisional manager Hugh Harding (left), with wife Laraine and Kellerberrin farmers David Leake, Debbie Pym and their son Alex Leake. David's great uncle Maitland Leake was one of the instigators of the first

ONE of the major events to mark the occasion of Wesfarmers 100th birthday was the launch of a commemorative book Wesfarmers 100 - The People's Story.

About 270 invited guests, mostly former long serving staff members or descendants and family members of influential leaders in the company's history, celebrated in style at the State Reception Centre, Kings Park, last week for the launch of London-based author Peter Thompson's detailing of the evolution of the iconic company.

The former Fleet Street journalist and director of Mirror Group Newspapers has written autobiographies on the likes of the Princess of Wales and Elvis Presley, several war books including The Battle of Brisbane and Pacific Fury and with Robert Macklin wrote The Big Fella: The Rise and Rise of BHP Billiton, which won the Blake Dawson prize for business literature.

Mr Thompson spent several years researching the Wesfarmers' history from its registration as a farmers' co-operative in June 1914 with a paid up capital of 250,000 pounds, through its listing as a public company on November 15, 1984 with a market capitalisation of $30 million to now being Australia's eighth largest company with a market capitalisation of about $50 billion employing more than 200,000 people and with 500,000 shareholders.

In his welcoming address, chairman Dr Bob Every AO said the aim within the centenary book had been to capture the voices, thoughts and aspirations of all the people who collectively contributed to making Wesfarmers the great company it is today.

He believed it was significant the company had only had 10 chairmen in its 100 years and this in part led to the great culture within the company.

"For companies to succeed you need vision supported by strategies, but great strategies cannot be implemented without the right culture," Dr Every said.

Dr Every said there had been some bold transactions in the 100 years such as the purchases of CSBP, Howard Smith and most recently the Coles Group and there had been some white knuckle moments along the way but through it all the culture of the company had been preserved and he was determined to be a good custodian of this in the future.

"Our culture came from our old co-operative days where we were here for our members not just to build an empire and our success today depends on every employee, shareholder, customer and consumer," Dr Every said.

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