Councillor untouched by Gough family feud
Christchurch City Councillor Jamie Gough says he has a good relationship with relative Ben Gough, whose ambitions for control of the big family business Gough Holdings concern Jamie's branch of the family.
Jamie, 28, comes from the Owen T Gough family branch while Ben, about 39, comes from the Blair T Gough family side.
Both are on the board of directors of the old Canterbury firm while the two branches of the family have been fighting over control. This was revealed in a High Court judgment released this week.
Gough Holdings, formerly Gough Gough and Hamer, supplies and services heavy machinery, employs 950 staff and has turnover of several hundred million dollars a year.
"I have a really good relationship across the board with all members of our family," Jamie said yesterday.
Asked whether the division spilled into the boardroom, Jamie said: "No, we (he and Ben) enjoy a really good working relationship and we get on well on a personal level as well."
Jamie has been on the board for three years and Ben for six years.
In September Ben was appointed the deputy chairman of Gough Holdings. In 2012 Ben led the disestablishing of trusts on his side of the family holding his and his sister's shares and he bought shares from other members of the extended family to build a holding of 50.16 per cent.
Before that, the O T Gough family branch had held the biggest holding, 42 per cent through a family trust.
The beneficiaries of the O T Gough Family Trust are Jamie's father Tracy, uncles Harcourt and Antony, and aunt Avenal.
Asked if the families' conflict caused splits in company decision- making Jamie said: "We just operate like a good commercial board. We're an efficient and effective board and we work very well together and we reach consensus and make decisions that are in the best interests of the company."
Asked about the court judgment referring to Ben's wish to reduce dividends to family shareholders, Jamie said: "I hope you don't mind if I don't go there, only because I don't think that's fair for me to go into those details of a private business."
"Ben's an outstanding young guy. I thoroughly enjoy working with him. We have a good relationship at board level and personally we get on very well."
He enjoyed the challenges of being involved in the family company.
"But first and foremost I'm a Christchurch city councillor. That's what I give my all to."
The court judgement says the three head trustees of the estate of Tracy Thomas Gough, one of the founders of Gough Gough & Hamer, choose the board members.
Three board members are experienced professional directors and there is another vacancy for an independent to fill.
Gough Holdings chairman Keith Taylor said issues between the two branches of the family did not involve the company.
"As far as I'm concerned, all shareholders have been very supportive."
Asked if the conflict affected the company, Taylor said: "No. I haven't felt an impact on the company in the whole time I have been there in terms of our decision making."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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