28/08/2007 - 22:00

Succession plan puts business builders in unfamiliar territory

28/08/2007 - 22:00

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Dale Alcock and Garry Brown-Neaves have ruled out listing their successful building empire following a recently completed 20-year business plan that is designed to steer the group smoothly through their eventual retirements.

Dale Alcock and Garry Brown-Neaves have ruled out listing their successful building empire, which includes more than a dozen companies, following a recently completed 20-year business plan that is designed to steer the group smoothly through their eventual retirements.

It’s the first time that Mr Brown-Neaves, 61, has produced a plan that outlines the business’s growth beyond a single financial year.

And it’s also the first time Mr Alcock, 46, has looked beyond a 12-month timeframe since he joined Mr Brown-Neaves to establish Dale Alcock Homes in 1987.

And while both have grown the business organically through identifying opportunities as they arise, they recently sat down to work out how to keep the business growing and thriving after they’ve left day-to-day management.

Mr Alcock is quick to point out that, being 15 years younger than Mr Brown-Neaves, he has plenty of energy left in the tank to continue managing the group’s day-to-day operations for quite some time.

Not that Mr Brown-Neaves has any intention of retiring just yet, although he wants to start winding back some of his full-time commitments, which will require nurturing and developing staff within the group to take on more responsibilities.

The pair will eventually create an external board, to which Mr Brown-Neaves will initially retire, followed some time later by Mr Alcock.

The board will also have other members on it. 

Both men said they did not intend to list the Alcock Brown-Neaves Group.

“If I retired there’s no better place to have my money then in the business you really know,” Mr Brown-Neaves said.

Mr Alcock has a similar sentiment.

“We have always reinvested in the business,” he said.

“We enjoy a pretty good lifestyle and our best investment is in the investment we already have. If we simply exit the position by floating it then we have to reinvest it in something else anyway. That probably won’t be as good as the investment we have already got.”

Mr Alcock said pair recognised earlier in the year that there were issues of succession planning that needed consideration.

“The issue about continuity of the business is an issue for most large private concerns,” Mr Alcock said.

“How the business rolls forward was an issue for us. We have said we are a private company and we want to remain private.”

Mr Alcock said he and Mr Brown-Neaves had and would continue to identify potential leaders within the group.

Mr Brown-Neaves said the succession planning extended to the company’s senior management.

“We know when our general mangers intend to retire, so that we have plenty of time to retrain and move people through parts of our business,” he told WA Business News.

Mr Alcock said the pair did not want to list the ABN Group because they did not want to be answerable to “someone else”.

“I guess it is about why we got into business to start with, and really that was to control our own destiny,” he said.

“Going public means you are at the scrutiny of your shareholders and other people who are asking why you are doing certain things. It would mean a lot of our time would be spent reporting to others and justifying what we are doing to others, which to us is non-productive and negative time.”

Mr Alcock added that compliance issues could mean decisions are made more slowly.

“What we see going forward is that we can create an outcome where we can still operate very similarly to a public company,” he said.

“We can create an external board at a time that suits us to do so. In the first instance, Garry can move from the operational to the non-operational side of things and then I can ultimately…move from operational to non-operational.”

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