Russell Green On Capricorn NZ’s Silver Celebration

Person working on car

“The Capricorn team in New Zealand made it happen”, says Russell Green, Capricorn New Zealand’s first Director, as he reflects on Capricorn NZ’s 25th anniversary in 2022.

Russell Green joined Capricorn New Zealand in its infancy and was part of the core team that helped shaped Capricorn that we know today.

When I joinedCapricorn, there was very little knowledge or awareness of it in the NZ motor industry - so it was a leap of faith joining something that sounded too good to be true. What stood out to me was the ‘there’s nothing to lose’ statement and that still rings true today.”

He recalls the challenges that Capricorn had to overcome when it entered the New Zealand market.

“When I joined it was real chicken and egg stuff - you needed more Members to entice more suppliers and vice versa so we were aware it was going to take some time to get up to speed. It certainly was not the talk of the town in the early days.”

As Capricorn reaches its 25th year in 2022, Russell reflects on Capricorn’s journey and what made the organisation thrive. 

The Capricorn team in NZ were the reason for its success and hiring locally made a huge difference. The moment we stopped sending an Aucklander down to try and sell Capricorn to the South Island – it grew. We were also lucky that NZ Members understood cooperatives and were excited by the opportunity to join in on something so big. But it was and it is the NZ sales team that drove the success in NZ”, he adds.

Over the last few decades, Russell remembers the highlights of his career at Capricorn.

“Receiving a phone call from Wayne Negus to tell me I won the NZ Director elections, becoming the Board Chairman and first trip to Perth were a few personal highlights for me. The AGM/Board meeting was also memorable too. Talk about feeling out of your depth!

“But what I value the most are the interactions with the Members, Preferred Suppliers and NZ team. It is something I reflect on often and I was extremely lucky to build special relationships with the NZ team. I recall vividly flying to Blenheim to a meeting where there were only eight of us in total but remembering how important that was to the ones that showed up.

“And what’s extremely satisfying for me was witnessing the achievements of the NZ team, seeing staff members join Capricorn and succeed in their roles and to hear and see that success also lifts the Australian team – it makes you proud to be a Kiwi!”

Russel oversaw all New Zealand regions during his time as Capricorn Director and imparts a hearty advice to Capricorn NZ team and its current and future leaders:

“Don’t forget it’s all about the people; the staff, the Members and the Preferred Suppliers. Stay humble and no matter how big and glorious it gets, look after all these people that make it work - including the little guys - listen to them and their stories… Make time to listen.

“To the board and senior staff - keep your feet on the ground and remember Capricorn’s beginnings and what it took to get where it is today. People must come first before profit.”

This article was published 08/06/2022 and the content is current as at the date of publication.