I first met Harry in the late ’70s when he applied for a job at Survey Research (now called Research International). He was fresh out of university, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Despite his unpronounceable name, there was something about him that I liked and he was hired for his first job.
Sometime after that I went to Auckland to set up Survey Research’s Auckland office and then Colmar Brunton Research. Harry stayed in Wellington, got into advertising (Charles Haines) and then later into research again (AC Nielsen).
I was so pleased when Harry agreed to open Colmar Brunton’s Wellington office in 2003 and become a shareholder. He and his team built it into a substantial business, because his reputation and mana in Wellington were so strong, built on talent and integrity. He attracted great clients and staff alike. Then in 2009 Harry became chief executive of Colmar Brunton.
I really enjoyed working with Harry. He was inspirational. He had great ideas and saw possibilities where others didn’t. His penchant for the white-board, fancy-dress and great events are legendary. He blended some advertising showmanship with marketing research – the mix was very attractive and, in my view, advanced the reputation of marketing research.
More than that, he was a great person, kind, genuinely caring and compassionate and very well-liked and appreciated, not just in New Zealand, but beyond in the Millward Brown empire. He has touched so many lives, not just in health, but also when he walked through the valley of the shadow of death.
Harry passed away on February 19, 2012 peacefully and with family. His was a life well lived.