Leadership in Wine #7 - Graeme Lord

  • Alexis Robin

Graeme is well known in the New Zealand corporate industry. He was CEO of Macpac, and Manager Director of Delegat Group. During his time at Delegat, sales grew by 35% to 2.74 million cases, operating net profit after tax by 71% to $44.9 million and market capitalisation by 135% to $875 million. In his career with Delegat sales grew 18 fold in 18 years.

Graeme believes he was fortunate to work with great people and he really enjoyed helping to build high performing teams globally.


How do you define leadership?

There are many aspects to leadership. 

Some of the aspects I think are most important are:

  • Creating an environment where people can succeed and achieve their potential
  • Building a healthy culture based on strong values
  • Providing the team with a compelling vision of future success 
  • Energising teams around inspirational goals
  • Standing up for what is right.


What are the main challenges of being a leader in the wine industry today?

I see the greatest challenges as universal rather than wine industry specific.  Furthermore, they are generally internal rather than external. 

I think Sir Peter Blake encapsulated it well when he said “whatever the area, fulfilling one’s potential requires worthwhile goals, a ruthlessness in setting standards and the courage to avoid the soft options that constantly present themselves.


What are your major breakthroughs in your career to become the leader you are now?

Firstly, joining a small company with tremendous potential and being willing to throw myself into any challenge wholeheartedly.  Secondly, being backed by my manager to take on challenges that on paper I was not qualified to do.  Thirdly, attending a High Performance Leadership course at IMD which helped me grow into a more well rounded leader. 

For me, having a positive growth mindset, embracing opportunities and learning everyday is more important that any specific breakthrough.


If you were starting your career in 2019 in the wine industry, what advice would you give to yourself to become successful and content?

Seek out organisations with great values, great people and goals that inspire you. If your Manager is not focused on your growth and development, find a new one.

Lastly, go for it!

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