In which the author applies to be CEO at DVML

A facsimile of the author's application for the role of chief executive for Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, submitted to recruitment firm Optima Global Talent yesterday. Yes, really.

To whom it may concern,

Please accept my belated application for the position of Chief Executive Officer with Dunedin Venues Management Ltd.

I am highly confident of my leadership and asset management capabilities in relation to this role. The information given in the job advertisement notes that the facilities managed by DVML "attract international and domestic events in the areas of the sport, conference and entertainment markets". This should make my job much easier.

Nevertheless, I will strive to tout the Forsyth Barr Stadium far and wide, beyond those top-class international events that fling themselves at it. That's only what any decent asset manager would do.

I can offer you a competitive salary. Yes, that's right: I can offer you a competitive salary. (You will notice my way is somewhat unorthodox, but I suggest to you that conventional thinking is not the way of a great leader.) I will do the job for $80,000 per annum. I would live handsomely on that, and I have no interest in bonuses, for I am not especially concerned with the acquisition of material wealth.

You may flabbergastedly wonder what, then, could possibly incentivise me to do the job well, if I were not earning my predecessor's minimum of $250,000 per annum. International performing star Sir Paul McCartney expressed my philosophy best with the lines, "When you got a job to do you got to do it well. You got to give the other fella hell." That may seem old-fashioned, and I think I probably am a bit.

My accepting that salary of $80,000 upon appointment to the post would automatically save the company at least $170,000. That alone could leave it in a better financial position after my first year than it was in the previous year. If that's not hitting the artificial turf running, then I don't know what is.

Strategically I favour frugality. I would not find it difficult to make a $3.2 million loss, going forward, in any given financial year, if it please the stakeholders, but I would endeavour to convince them we can and should do better.

My personal fiscal responsibility, in an uncertain global economic climate, is beyond reproof. I have no assets, no debts, and $NZ4000 to my name. This makes me comparable to some United States cities: the City of Scranton, Pennsylvania, for example, was recently estimated to have $US5000 left in its coffers.

Further, it puts me in a superior financial position to some other United States cities, which are bankrupt; some due in no small part to their having bought massive events venues they cannot afford and cannot fill. I am mindful of these things as I look to my stewardship of Dunedin's prime venues, going forward.

Permit me to give you an example of my approach, as envisioned by me, going forward. On my watch, there would be no corporate events with free wine and nibbles. Wine is expensive and nibbles make any crowd seem like a plague of rodents, which is ugly. Nibbling adds to a sense of anxiety in a room, in my experience. I will instead aim to put at ease our clientele, if that is what corporate wastrels must be called, with the distribution of chewing gum. Chewing gum is relatively inexpensive, and everybody enjoys it.

In attracting international performing stars to play Dunedin, I would apply the six-degrees-of-separation principle. For example, I know someone who knows someone who knows Sam Neill, who, according to Wikipedia [citation needed], is friends with not only the musical Finn brothers but also Jimmy Barnes. And I know someone who knows someone who once slept with the lead singer of Skunk Anansie.

It would therefore not be difficult to get hold of them and invite them to the stadium. I would also ply the usual channels, namely concert promoters, to bring the big acts trotting in from across the globe. I have a cordial phone manner and tend to get what I want from people, owing to my natural Libran charm.

It goes without saying I am capable of business growth, but for the sake of redundancy I will say it. I have for the past four years written a web log for the Otago Daily Times website. It used to get about 300 reads a week. Now it gets about 600. It follows I could possibly double the revenue for a couple of venues.

One way of going about that would be to make the venues more attractive to potential visitors. You may have noticed the seating at the stadium, for example, is bleak. Making cushions available to hire for $1 each would be an attractive and revenue-generating option. You may have noticed the hot dogs at the stadium, as another example, are yucky. Making yummy food available would be an attractive and revenue-generating option.

I am confident I would be extremely well supported in the role of Chief Executive Officer by the Dunedin community. This is for three main reasons. 1. I have always lived here, so I know everyone and would feel comfortable asking for input and assistance from a wide network of citizens wiser and more experienced than myself.

2. Many, and maybe most, people are aghast at the debt the city has accrued because of the DVML asset portfolio. I daresay they are prepared to take a chance on a wildcard such as myself, as desperate times call for desperate measures. I would be happy to be part of a shortlist of candidates put to a local referendum to test this theory.

3. I can't remember what 3. was going to be.

Lastly, I predict there would be spin-off benefits to DVML in having me appointed as Chief Executive Officer. I imagine rebellious liberal music acts, such as Green Day, would learn of the humble blue-collar worker who took on the Herculean task of managing an unfortunate stadium at the bottom of the world, and then they (Green Day) would strategically attach themselves to that rags-without-riches story by offering to play here for free.

Rebellious liberal Madonna might also be keen. Then Sir Peter Jackson would see the obvious film potential and would make a movie about our city and its little stadium that could. Claire Danes and Neil Patrick Harris, both of whom I closely resemble, would alternate in playing my character, thus bringing in the art-house audiences as well as the feelgood-film fanatics. DVML would soon become flush with proceeds from the story rights and saturation merchandising.

You can see my potential. Thank you for considering this application.

Yours sincerely,

Anna Chinn


No, other way around...

For a better long term solution Anna should be CEO & Mr Farry 2IC. Anna can sign the cheques & he can put them in the envelopes, stick the stamps on & make the tea!


They have my vote

Let's put it online.  I vote for Malcolm Farry as CEO and Anna Chinn as his 2IC.  A perfect combination!

Move over Anna

Anna Chinn might just be onto something. If she could just sideline the recruitment circus, that in itself would be a huge step forward. Her offer of ‘blood sweat and tears’ for eighty grand is a very hard act to follow.  

But in all seriousness, I still think Malcolm Farry is the man for the job. He it is whose dream was the stadium. Indeed, he right from the start, proclaimed that, not only would the stadium be of enormous benefit to the city, but that it would produce a regional economic benefit of $20 million per year. Further, it would assure a further 500 students per year would come to the University because of the stadium. Already we hear of a likely visit of the Dalai Lama (just as he predicted) so it is now highly likely, if he takes the job his other ‘star,’ the “Pope” could well be next.

I can even see the headline banners now: “On Time On Budget, All Shows Sold Out, Come One Come All.”


A man with a plan

Anna: I applaud your public spirited offer, and I may be able to help you, I know someone whose kids went to the same preschool as someone in Green Day - and don't forget that there was that guy who got on the front page a few months ago because he knew someone who knew someone who fell out of a tree - every little bit helps.

However we do have a better candidate - a man with a plan - Malcom Farry came forward and explained that the whole problem with the stadium was that Mr Davies wasn't following through with his plan - I think we should take up his offer and with his wealth of experience operating large sporting venues we'll be rolling in cash in no time - he seems well heeled we could offer him the "Steve Jobs" deal - $1 in salary and a share of the profits when they arrive. We will have to keep a careful eye on the details of any fundraising he does though, just in case they really just involve us borrowing millions more dollars and paying the loan with profits we don't have.