Having worked with the company for four years, his then boss had the foresight to realise that Ken’s greatest strengths were not in accountancy, but rather in general management and in developing and managing the most important assets of any company i.e. its employees. He was given the opportunity to act as a company trouble shooter, and any thoughts of accountancy as a career choice were thus abandoned. This was in 1982, and it marked a major step for Ken towards becoming a career trouble shooter, as well as later a “company interventionist”. This role that has earned him considerable success, including playing a major part in various mergers and acquisitions along the way.
In 1983, as a result of a merger between Navire Cargo Gear and MacGregor Cargo Access Equipment, Ken was dispatched to Asia Pacific to help solve a number of operational issues that the company was experiencing in the region at the time. Based in Sydney, Australia, with travel to Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, his new role began in earnest.
In 1988, he returned to Head Office to be appointed Special Projects Manager for the European Group. This role included overseeing the company’s operations on the Iberian Peninsula, which at the time was experiencing serious operational difficulties. Based in the southern city of Seville, he spent one year in Spain helping to resolve major issues.
In 1989, Ken was appointed Assistant to the Divisional Director for the group’s service operations, which at the time consisted of 20 subsidiaries around the world. This meant that Ken travelled extensively around the world giving support, and assisting with a range of strategic and operational issues within the subsidiaries.
After being approached by the parent company, Kone Corporation of Finland, he accepted another new role in 1991. His task was to help to establish new regional headquarters in the Asia Pacific area, and to develop new subsidiaries in Malaysia, Thailand, and China. A major component of his work was also to maintain relationships with various licensees in the region.
In late 1994, Ken was asked to move again. This time to a challenging role within the Kone Corporation in Australia. As General Manager of Kone Cranes in Sydney, he achieved the goals set out for him, i.e. bringing back this subsidiary to profitability with the assistance of a united workforce.
During a period following his time with Kone Cranes, Ken was lucky enough to spend some personal time in beautiful Perth, where he was able to be a dedicated father. This was a different but wonderful challenge.
However, South Australia soon beckoned. A position as General Manager with Hyster, South Australia: a multi-national materials handling company based in Adelaide was offered to him. Ken took the challenge and, once again, his skills in solving problems and turning things around came to the fore. After almost three years conducting change management within the company, Ken decided it was time to establish his own consulting company, Banyan Management Services.
Since then Ken has worked with a wide range of organisations, large and small. All of Ken’s assignments revolve around people in organisations. As a result of Ken’s truly multifaceted background, his skills in resolving conflicts and in mediating between people are peerless. Ken also undertakes speaking engagements at home and overseas.
From 2002-2009, Ken chaired a group of sixteen South Australian CEOs, working with The Executive Connection (TEC): the world-wide business mentoring organisation. In July 2004, May 2005, June 2006, and July 2008, he has been the recipient of national mentoring awards from his peer group.
Every year he mentors undergraduates at the University of South Australia on the subject of International Business, focusing on cross-cultural issues. He has also worked with SA Great as a mentor for their various youth mentoring programs. For seven years he was a board member and President of the Spina Bifida Association of South Australia, his involvement initiated through the State Government and Business SA’s 100 Hundred Hours project.
In 2006 he embarked on a major study of generational change in Australia and overseas, including the challenges companies face in the next decade. Currently he is engaged in an international research project on the subject of workplace change, including the effects of the global financial crisis, and the changes we can expect once the major economies start to recover.
Ken has just completed his first book called “From Coal Dust to Gold Dust” which is based on his life and his reflections on his work as a corporate trouble-shooter. He regularly writes articles for a number of national publications on a range of topics.
He passionately believes we need to get back to caring about people because they matter more than the mighty dollar. The pain and suffering which people have and are suffering should not be for nought, it is time we look for another way to live our lives.