Kiwi supermarket, education leader dies
A former leader of the supermarket world and educational reformer, Brian Picot, has died at the age of 90.
Picot became best known in the 1980s for leading a government taskforce which reviewed the school system.
The taskforce's recommendations led to Tomorrow's Schools, a policy change which introduced business-like disciplines to education including school boards of trustees.
It sparked a string of educational reforms that continue today.
In business, Picot was one of the founders of supermarket giant Progressive Enterprises.
He began his working life at his family's small Wellington food shop, when in 1960 the family was offered a half stake in the parent company of New Zealand's first major supermarket, Foodtown Otahuhu.
Picot became a partner and joint managing director of the company, which became Progressive Enterprises, and served 13 years as its chairman.
One of Picot's sons, Andy Picot, said his father had a strong sense of ethics and a caring nature.
''I think it's fair to say he always thought about the staff and people under him.
''Dad was a modest man, he would never had said he was responsible for the culture but they had a wonderful culture at Progressive.''
Picot also served as a director of several other companies, including Philips NZ, Auckland Uniservices, NZ Forest Products and South British Insurance, which later merged with NZI.
He was president of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce in 1975 and in the 1990s he was Pro-Vice Chancellor of Auckland University.
Picot was inducted into the Fairfax Business Hall of Fame in 2001 and made a distinguished fellow of the Institute of Directors in 2007.
He is survived by his wife Sue, daughters Mary and Julie and sons Andy and John.
- © Fairfax NZ News