Jeff Davidson

Jeff has a wide and varied business background which he now uses to provide independent director services, mentoring and coaching of senior management, contract executive roles and he currently sits on a number of advisory boards of small to medium-sized enterprises.

He is a 27-year member of the NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants holding a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Otago University. Jeff’s involvement in industry follows a thorough grounding in business systems and processes through his role in audit for Deloitte both in NZ and in South Africa. He then went into a diverse range of industries as Financial Controller/Director with Arthur Yates & Co (Horticulture), Bridgestone Firestone (Automotive Manufacturing, Warehousing, Distribution, Retail, Franchising), Ernest Adams Limited (Food Manufacturing, Distribution) and Bayleys Real Estate (Property) where he was appointed Managing Director.

As Managing Director of Bayleys, Jeff was responsible for developing, recommending and implementing long-range strategies and business plans to achieve long term sustainable improvements in shareholder value. This was achieved through overseeing and managing the rapid expansion of Bayleys throughout NZ, doubling the number of offices representing the Bayleys brand and more than trebling the fees earned by the Group. He established strong business disciplines and process into franchise offices, nurtured the culture which differentiates the brand in the industry and mentored and assisted franchise owners in planning, business development and succession planning, assisting them to manage the rapid growth most experienced through this period.

A consistent theme throughout Jeff’s career has been his involvement in change management. At some point in each of the companies and industries he has been involved with there has been a need to radically rethink and reshape the businesses to ensure they remain relevant and profitable. It was these challenges that led to his involvement in detailed strategic planning where he experienced the thrill of establishing a strategic plan which responded to issues confronting an organization, execution of the strategies and actions identified within the plan and achieving substantial change across the breadth of the organization ensuring its survival and improved financial performance.

Jeff is not a dancer and is not a stage performer! Jeff’s exposure to dance and drama is through his marriage and three daughters who have all experienced and enjoyed participating in theatrical performances throughout their school years. Jeff met Shona McCullagh when Shona was engaged to develop theatrical performances for a major fundraising initiative by Bayleys Real Estate for Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup defence. This event was an outstanding success, raising over $1million on the night of the event, no doubt due to the inspiring contribution by the artistic performances of that evening.

There is no doubt that there needs to be a reshaping of the arts industry in NZ to make it viable on a sustained basis. Inefficiencies in the way in which funding is secured for singular projects of artistic endeavour provides no security for the development of talent in NZ with dancers, choreographers, set designers, costume fabricators all required to have alternative careers or go overseas to enable them to pursue their passion. Long-term funding commitment in combination with philanthropic support and superior, regular performance revenue is necessary to establish a home and a structure within which contemporary dance can flourish in NZ.

Teaming up with Shona and Frances Turner to develop a commercially viable, sustainable 21stcentury contemporary dance company using a cooperative/collaborative model is an exciting prospect.

(Photo by John McDermott; taken from Rotunda)