Lyndon Settle’s ability to straddle the European and iwi worlds of business and community also extends to his familiarity with the adjoining regions of Waikato and Bay of Plenty. That familiarity with two regions, and two peoples, has him well placed in his new role as CEO for Quayside Holdings based in Tauranga.
Picking up the role in October from Quayside’s founding CEO Scott Hamilton, Lyndon comes to the position after over six years as GM of Finance and Investments at Tainui Group Holdings in Waikato.
Making the move east to Bay of Plenty with Quayside Holdings marks a long-held ambition of Lyndon’s to assume a CEO role. It comes after a 20-year stint in banking, backed with a Masters in Applied Finance from Melbourne University, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Business, and a Bachelor of Business Studies in Agribusiness from Massey University.
More importantly, that ambition was tempered with a desire to focus his hard earnt business skills into an entity that also engenders community focus and social awareness. “As a 54% shareholder in Port of Tauranga, Quayside is obviously a big part of the Bay of Plenty business world and community. I took the step to Tainui after 20 years of banking, seeking an organisation that embodied a strong social and community focus on its people. Quayside marks a natural next step from Tainui for me, ” he says.
Quayside’s 31 years in existence as Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s investment arm has seen it built into a portfolio valued at over $3 billion, including the port.
While the port is a cornerstone of that portfolio, investments also include Oriens Capital, Huakiwi, the 162ha Rangiuru Business Park, and most recently forestry company PF Olsen.
Last year Quayside returned a dividend of $40 million back to the community, equivalent of $348 for every Bay of Plenty Regional Council general ratepayer.
“Clearly the port is a cornerstone investment, but I can see potential for Quayside investment further up or down the supply chain. There are also growth opportunities in asset classes such as infrastructure and property, whether it is commercial, industrial, or residential while further co-investment alongside iwi is an opportunity that will be considered and explored.”
Lyndon’s time with Tainui has provided him with a strong grounding in the complexities and subtleties of dealing with the challenges and demands a multi shareholder business model brings.
His ability to navigate the demands of commercial return and sensitivity to wider shareholder goals are underpinned with extensive experience in governance, having served on the boards of Tainui enterprises including Waikato Milking Systems and Go Bus Limited.
Lyndon describes learning Te Reo during his Tainui role as an invaluable opportunity that was a privilege to be part of. It was one heightened by being mentored by the Māori King’s personal kaiakopono, culminating in Lyndon regularly addressing Tainui tribal members at hui in Te Reo.
It is a skill he sees helping ease his way into the Quayside role as he looks to build further on the strong links Quayside have with local mana whenua.
He was also imbued by the long term investment horizon of projects that represents iwi inter-generational view, which is something shared by Quayside Holdings.
“At Tainui we always assessed our investments with a balanced view to ensure we were delivering sustainable and positive social, cultural, environmental and commercial outcomes.”
“The farming and forestry portfolios were additional areas of focus for me with Tainui. One of my most satisfying achievements at Tainui was to see the number of kaimahi (staff) with tribal affiliations go from none to 67%. Social outcomes such as these were very important in the eyes of tribal members.”
Involvement in the Ruakura Inland Port was also a highlight, demanding strong teamwork to get stage one off the ground as an asset to deliver intergenerational benefits for iwi for years to come.
A return to the Bay of Plenty is something of a return to his family’s early roots for Lyndon. His father originally owned the Mount’s favourite seaside store, the Omanu dairy until the early 70’s when they crossed the Kaimai to go dairy farming.
Today his family still owns a dairy farm near Te Poi and immediate family continue to live in the Bay of Plenty.
As someone with three teenage children and interests in agriculture, fishing and sports, Lyndon sees the Bay of Plenty as one offering the best of all worlds, and one whose port facility integrates well with the Waikato’s productive primary export sector.
“I am looking forward to leading Quayside into a new stage, one where we can raise awareness within the community about what Quayside brings in terms of wealth and social wellbeing.
“It is also an opportunity to build on those strong iwi relationships I enjoyed at Tainui with Bay of Plenty mana whenua, seeing everyone benefit from Quayside’s presence in the Bay of Plenty.”