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Alumni profile: David Bennett

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We speak to Deloitte alumni David Bennett, CFO of Ryman Healthcare. David talks about his time at Deloitte, what it takes to be a successful CFO and where Ryman Healthcare is heading.

When were you at Deloitte and what was your role?

I worked in the audit team of Deloitte Christchurch as a graduate from 2002 until 2006, and as a senior manager from 2009 until 2013.

Tell us about the company you work for now?

Ryman Healthcare has 31 operational villages across New Zealand and one in Melbourne offering a full continuum of retirement village living.

As at December 2017, Ryman Healthcare had a market capitalisation of over NZ$5.2 billion. The company hasn’t had to raise capital since its initial public offering in 1990, funding all its development from operational cash-flows. Ryman has delivered 15 years of consecutive record earnings results since 2002. 

Ryman employs over 4,500 people, including in-house development teams, builders, nurses and caregivers, cooks, cleaners, sales and support staff. Ryman villages are home to more than 10,500 residents in New Zealand and Australia.

What do you think makes an outstanding CFO?

A CFO typically has the technical accounting skills, but what is really important is understanding the business and its key drivers of growth.

For me, seeing how our staff care for our residents is key - it underpins everything we do as a company.

I also think its key to work with a strong team. It is important to be willing to delegate because in a CFO’s role you can’t be as close to all the detail as you were in previous roles. You must have confidence in your staff and back them to do a great job -this means that they can step up and grow in their role.

Where do you see Ryman Healthcare in the future?

We’ve only started on growth, and it’s an exciting time to be part of Ryman. We’re investing more than ever in the resident experience as well as health and safety, technology, and infrastructure and gearing up to meet the extraordinary demand we see ahead.

We’re also investing in health and safety, technology, and infrastructure.

Last year we achieved our 15th consecutive year of growth and we remain committed to doubling our underlying profits every five years.

We have 15 villages in the pipeline and expect to match our New Zealand build rate in Victoria, Australia by 2020 (opening two villages in New Zealand and two in Victoria). This means we will also be continually replenishing the land bank of sites in our portfolio.

Ryman’s growth is underpinned by an aging population which the United Nations has described as unprecedented and unparalleled, and we’re only just at the start of it.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about being a CFO?

That CFOs are only focused on the numbers and the numbers always dictate decision making. Our view is that if we do the right thing by our residents, people and shareholders, great financial results will follow.

What stands out about Deloitte compared to other companies you’ve worked with?

The people I worked with at Deloitte made it stand out. That means people who are good to work with - capable with a great attitude. You also need strong leaders who give you a chance and back you to do a fantastic job.

During both my stints at Deloitte I was surrounded by these people and had great partners who gave me the opportunity to do new things and get outside my comfort zone. That’s why I enjoyed my time there so much and it set me up for where I am now.


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