A woman charged with leading a male-dominated earthmoving manufacturing plant, Digga Australia CEO Suzie Wright has a big job on her hands.
When in 2008 Wright and her business partners of Gold Coast-based Digga returned from a trip to the US having seen ‘the writing on the wall’, she decided to buy her biggest competitor – Kanga.
“We came back and told the staff that things were going to get tough, but we kept them all on,” she says.
“At the time we were running a lot of overtime and we said ‘here’s the deal, we are not laying people off, but we are cutting overtime and that way everybody gets to keep their job’.
“Of course they all got the shits because it was close to Christmas, but then in January a bunch of guys came and thanked me and said they didn’t realise how bad it was going to get and that’s when companies on the Gold Coast were collapsing every week.
“Kanga was one of them. They rocked up on our door and the CEO just asked point blank, ‘do you want to buy us?’ I initially said no. At the time we had strong cash flows and were about to invest in the US.
“The biggest problem for us was Kanga was our fourth largest client and had been for 15 years and was also the third largest creditor. We would not have got a cent in the dollar, so it was purely a commercial decision to acquire them. That decision also protected our supply chain and other creditors.”
Suzie Wright is a chief executive with plenty of guts. Read the entire story by getting your copy of Gold Coast Business News' October issue – out now in more than 500 Queensland newsagencies.
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