Sep 26, 2012

Smoking Gunn: John Gay and the timber giant’s rise and fall

John Gay was not at the helm of Gunns as it sank into administration yesterday. But his fingerprints are all over the rise and fall of the once-mighty timber giant.

Myriam Robin — Media Reporter

Myriam Robin

Media Reporter

There’s something Shakespearean about John Gay, the former Gunns CEO.

When he took the top job at the timber mill in 1986, it was a small, privately-owned company turning over just $10 million a year. He made it one of Australia’s largest corporations. At its peak in 2003, it had a market capitalisation of $900 million. But just as he took it to the top, Gay’s decisions and, many have argued, his hubris, brought it to the perilous state it’s in today.

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7 thoughts on “Smoking Gunn: John Gay and the timber giant’s rise and fall

  1. Liz45

    (Ooops – put this on the wrong article???)

    I feel sorry for any workers who lose their jobs, but? I hope this means an end to the horrific Pulp Mill! I wait in hope!It will be interesting to follow the pending Court case re Gay!

  2. Tom McLoughlin

    “timber” is a term of art in this debate. Gunns is a “woodchip company”, not a “timber company” given the vast bulk of it’s product is not timber which serves only as the proverbial figleaf in the woodchipper business model. Indeed Gunns was mostly about privatising public native forest lands by means of clearfell conversion into defacto plantation lands (an industry agenda over decades now).

  3. Venise Alstergren

    My reply to the marvelous First Dog cartoon today follows.

    “”Good riddance Gunns. Gunns go off-finally; they were butchers!

    If a company resorts to mining our forests and slaughtering our wildlife, all to send our old growth Regnans to China and Japan in order to pulp them for lavatory paper, it deserves to go under. This was a nineteen fifties industry {concept} which simply failed to understand the world of 2012.

    “”TONY ABBOTT, please note.””

    TOM MCL: Absolutely agree with you.

  4. Liz45

    I haven’t seen where logging takes place in Tasmania, but I did visit the far south coast of NSW about 15 years ago, and the devastation made me weep! What an awful sight! Environmental vandalism in my view. The areas where CSG takes place looks similar. Interesting how a farmer can end up bankrupt due to fines for logging trees (wrong area, too many, or even any at all) but mining companies can cut down acres of them for roads, drilling etc. Makes you wonder at the double standards here!
    I love the Tasmanian forests – I wonder if my great grand daughter will see them! Will they still be there?

  5. AR

    Good riddance. The only jarring note was Tas premier Giddings saying that the pulp was not dead. WTF?!?

  6. izatso?

    These people must eradicate the Wilderness. It scares them that so much freedom can be allowed to exist, and not belong to them, not be utilised. The idea, also, that it is known to exist, they hate that too. Etc. Little by Little, the future must be theirs. They will have all the Reserves. Or they will poison everything. With Economics. With Monetisation. With ‘Putting A Value’ on things Price- Less. With Bull S — -

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