3 Sep 2014

Sir Robert Stewart - Canterbury businessman

From Nine To Noon, 10:06 am on 3 September 2014

Sir Robert Stewart crop

Detail from the cover of Determined to Win by Sir Robert Stewart, published by Random House.

Sir Robert Stewart headed his Canterbury family business for five decades, leaving school at 15 and starting his own Christchurch manufacturing business at 25.

SKOPE Industries, which specialises in commercial refrigeration, ended up supplying some of the world's biggest companies including Coca-Cola Amatil.

There’s a lot of political noise at the moment about how to make manufacturing exporters grow, and the reality is that small companies  don’t need tax incentives – although they are very nice in the future -  because they never make any money, but what they can do is use a grant very effectively….Fundamentally, if you don’t have the latest machines then you are not competitive worldwide.

Sir Robert also founded Radio Avon in Christchurch, and contributed to the design of the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch. He has been involved in the Manufacturers Association, the Institute of Management, and health research and funding, and is interested in racing yachts and cars.

Sir Robert talks about his life and work with Lynn Freeman.

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