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What's Santa bringing the CEO?

Date

Stephen Lacey

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They have money, power, influence and usually a big house near a picturesque body of water. But even wealthy business leaders still look forward to a visit from the man in red on Christmas morning.

So with Santa firmly on the payroll, we asked the finalists from this year's inaugural CEO and Executive of the Year Awards how they typically spend Christmas and what gift they would like to find under the tree on December 25.

Radek Sali - CEO, Swisse

Swisse CEO Radek Sali wants a pair of socks for Christmas, not singer Delta Goodrem.

Swisse CEO Radek Sali wants a pair of socks for Christmas, not singer Delta Goodrem.

Sali usually celebrates Christmas with his parents, family and close friends. Having a Czech mother, he follows the eastern European tradition of opening gifts after dinner on Christmas Eve. "I was always ahead of the other kids in the neighbourhood," he laughs. "But as I have an English wife, I open the presents from her on Christmas morning. We generally do that at our beach house in Portsea."

Under the tree? "If Santa is good to me, I'd love another pair of Happy Socks. They are very bright and colourful and so much nicer than boring black. They really put a smile on your face."

Charles Mobrici - CFO, Set Logistics

Mobrici is simply looking forward to getting his family together for Christmas. "I have three grown-up boys all enjoying their separate lives, so at Christmas it's nice for us to gather for lunch or dinner," he says. "Being from Italian heritage I do keep certain traditions alive. For instance, we have a panettone with Christmas dinner. I even give a few away to my staff."

Under the tree? "I have everything I need. If I get a hug from my three boys that will be enough of a gift."

David Stewart - MD and CEO, NetComm Wireless

Two out of every three Christmases, Stewart flies his family and friends to Canada to ski. This will be one of those years. "I'm looking forward to a white Christmas," he says.

Under the tree? "My wife is getting me some new skis for down-hilling."

Nigel Clarke - MD, Momentum Energy

Clarke will spend Christmas with his wife and three children in their home at Barwon Heads. "I'm pretty proficient in the kitchen, so I'll cook the turkey and coordinate the lunch," he says. "I'm looking forward to a relaxing holiday by the beach."

Under the tree? "I'm hoping for a new chipper to go with my golf set, because I end up in the sand bunker now and then."

John Winning - CEO, The Winning Group

Last year Winning spent Christmas Day in the office cooking lunch for his staff. Then he caught a seaplane up to Pearl Beach on the NSW Central Coast to have dinner with his family. However, the usual tradition is to have dinner with family and friends at Vaucluse.

Under the tree? "Given the fact I'm renovating my new place in Surry Hills, I'd love a Sub-Zero fridge for the kitchen. They are seriously cool fridges; big and industrial looking. Failing that I'll be happy with a Curb your Enthusiasm DVD."

Scott Meneilly - CEO, Boost Juice

For Meneilly a typical Christmas is being surrounded by kids. "I spend time with my own three children and all the nieces and nephews gathered around," he says. "We have lunch at my Mum's bayside house and then head down to the beach house at Mount Martha."

Under the tree? "I'd love something a bit daring such as a three-day survival course on a desert island, anything extreme that I haven't done before. But I'll probably end up with something like a remote-controlled helicopter that the kids will want to steal from me."

Darren Wallis - CEO, GJ Gardner Homes

Wallis lives on the Sunshine Coast, so he enjoys kicking back at home on Christmas Day with "prawns and a few drinks", looking out over the water. "I have five kids so Christmas morning is pretty hectic, but lots of fun," he says. "This year will be a little different because we're heading to the US for a white Christmas, skiing in Denver, Colorado."

Under the tree? "Always new fishing gear. I'd love a new Shimano Stellar reel for sport fishing. And maybe a new leather briefcase by Pierre Cardin."

10 comments

  • Seriously, you couldn't find one female? Gail Kelly, Katie Page, Kerrie Mather.

    I know there aren't many, but the only way we are going see more women in the top job is if we include them in the executive culture.

    I know some of you will groan and complain that us feminists turn everything into an issue but it really is quite simple, one day there will be a balance of male and female representation and I want that day to come in my lifetime.

    Commenter
    Kate
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    December 20, 2012, 1:06PM
    • Do you read Men's Health magazine and complain there's no articles about women's health?

      Commenter
      Don't get it
      Location
      Aus
      Date and time
      December 20, 2012, 4:50PM
    • "Don't get it" - if the article had been entitled "What's Santa bringing the male CEO" you might actually have a point. As it is, your reply merely implies that all CEOs are male, and that we shouldn't expect to find a female there.

      Commenter
      Kate
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      December 20, 2012, 7:18PM
    • I wondered too Kate, especially when we got to Boost Juice, who we know was created by a woman. I note your point, and I support it. +1

      Commenter
      SS
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      December 20, 2012, 7:35PM
    • Its a news paper article about Christmas presents for people who get paid to much. Your over reaction to it, misinterpretation of its purpose and hijacking of it as a podium to discuss your own problems does your argument and yourself no favours.

      Commenter
      Harry
      Location
      Newcastle
      Date and time
      December 20, 2012, 11:14PM
  • Kate
    I wrote the story and as it says at the start, I interviewed CEOs from this year's CEO of the Year Awards. The CEO's contacts were provided by a FEMALE PR for the awards. The names she gave me were all male. Sorry about that.

    Commenter
    lacebug
    Date and time
    December 20, 2012, 5:30PM
    • That kind of sums it up though Stephen - the bosses were all male, the one doing the running around was female.

      That said, I'm not quite sure what the point of the article is. Is it supposed to be aspirational? Are we meant to look at these highly-paid men and think "Oh good, he just wants a DVD", or get angry when they are going to receive gifts that most of us will never be able to afford?

      Commenter
      Kate
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      December 20, 2012, 7:22PM
    • I'm a bit lost as to why "FEMALE" PR was mentioned (and why the capitals?). Just PR person would have been fine. I don't think you would have done yourself any harm in going outside the box of CEO finalists.

      Commenter
      SS
      Location
      Perth
      Date and time
      December 20, 2012, 7:38PM
  • Hey Stephen, interesting article, good one. Amused & a bit worried about Darren Wallis & his navigation though? Not much skiing to be had in Denver - unless your into cross country. The closest resorts, Vail, etc are all 2 hours out of town by car!!

    Commenter
    Graeme
    Date and time
    December 20, 2012, 6:27PM
    • Thank you Kate and SS, I really appreciate the support.

      To 'Don't get it', I do apologise, I should have realised that this isn't a list of the best sandwich makers but rather that of CEO's, who of course are required to have a Y chromosome.

      To 'Lacebug' there is no need for capitals, I did not mean to offend you and if I did I apologise. The fact that the person who conducted the research for this article was female is irrelevant and really no reason for either of you to not question the lack of females.

      You are free to write whatever articles you are assigned in whatever way you see fit, but I do hope that in the future you will consider incorporating females (the future of executive Australia), into your articles.

      Commenter
      Kate
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      December 20, 2012, 10:36PM
      Comments are now closed
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