2017 North Harbour Business Hall of Fame Laureate
Paul Byrnes is a professional director and investor with over 25 years’ in CEO roles. His career has included major shareholdings and management buyouts, numerous merger and acquisition opportunities and business ‘turnaround’ management.
In 1986 at age 32, Paul was appointed Managing Director of the struggling Holeproof Industries and within 5 years acquired 100% ownership. The business was restructured and returned to strong profitability before being sold to Pacific Dunlop.
From 1998 to 2007 Paul was an active private investor, building a governance portfolio and working as a business consultant. He was a director of Hellaby Holding for 12 years and a director and chairman of power company Top Energy for almost 20 years, adding significant value for shareholders.
In May 2008 Paul agreed to assist finance company Dorchester Pacific through the GFC. It was supposed to be a part-time engagement, but he reluctantly stepped in as CEO. The company was teetering on the brink of collapse and commentators were baying for receivership. Paul was the architect of a complex moratorium, whilst not without risk, was the catalyst for a remarkable turnaround. With recent acquisitions including Turners Auctions, Buy Right Cars and Autosure Insurance, the business has grown annual profit to $25m and market capitalisation increased from $1.5m in those dark days to around $280m today.
Paul recently handed over the CEO role, retaining an executive role focussing on merger and acquisition opportunities.
Paul supports numerous charities including De Paul House and the Rosmini Foundation. As a past pupil he has put in tremendous work on major school projects. Not only is he generous with his own funds, but with the most valuable commodity time – making calls to raise very substantial amounts of money for facilities that will benefit future generations.
Paul is also generous with his knowledge, as a guest lecturer on Corporate Governance at Massey University for 3 years, and mentoring others by passing on the benefits of his experience, and, as he likes to point out, his mistakes!
He is a truly worthy inductee to the North Harbour Business Hall of Fame.