ANZIIF (Assoc) CIP
Farmers' Mutual Group
In both his personal and professional life, Chris Black treats risk as a necessary ingredient for achievement. Helping rurally minded people and businesses in New Zealand gauge and manage a realistic level of risk is something he is passionate about. In the nicest possible way, Chris wants it all – a better deal for rural New Zealand, and a top three rating for FMG as New Zealand’s best workplace.
When Chris first joined FMG in 2008, he quickly realised the organisation was an unpolished gem. “Here was a 107 year-old organisation with a rural brand to die for and really great clients, but not many people knew about it!” A few years down the track and Chief Executive, Chris is proud of FMG’s strategic competitive advantage in the rural market, and his avowed goal is to grow FMG’s current 41% share of the rural market to 70%.
The Chris Black career story is one of challenges met and risks surmounted – beginning with a school holiday job on the factory floor in his father’s business making wire products for the rural market. Choosing tertiary study over taking up the reins in the family firm, Chris’ professional life also had rural roots, as a qualified land surveyor. Yet a desire to explore new opportunities soon saw Chris embark on a finance and banking career with international firms like Citibank and SG Warburg in London, before returning to New Zealand. Fifteen years of further achievement followed Chris’ return home, this time with BNZ, and included a stint at Harvard Business School and serving in some key role’s as the bank’s Chief Financial Officer, Head of Strategy and General Manager of Personal and Private Banking.
The outdoors, the rural life…its always appealed to him. “Good people doing important things to underpin the NZ economy.” Chris is married to Kate, who comes from a sheep farm in North Canterbury, and they have three young children. In his spare time, Chris plays tennis and golf and has a keen interest in contemporary music.
People who live and work on the land still are, in his view, the backbone of the country. “So, if we’re helping rural New Zealand to take the risks required to achieve their goals, then that’s an important and worthwhile role that we play.”
Chris has a Bachelor of Surveying from Otago University, is a Chartered Accountant and the current Vice President of the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ).