It is an exciting time for Morris as we welcome Rodney Molla to the CEO position.
You have been with us for five weeks and managed to visit a number of sites and met most of the managers at the conference in Hobart … thoughts so far?
Really good company and lots of good people, lots of good team dynamics and a good feel for the Morris family which is great. A lot of good will with clients and our local relationships with our teams. There is a good feel at the Brisbane and Perth offices too.
Did you have any expectations and how did the reality compare?
The main thing is that it is a business that has come from a private owned business and now has Catalyst investment. It is working well at the board level, great at a company level and it hasn’t had a real impact at the sites. The sites just get on and do their thing, so that’s great.
Had you visited a remote site prior to visiting a Morris site?
I’ve been to a number of sites before. I’ve visited BMA sites in Qld and BHP and also some Anglo sites. Morris is most definitely at least on par and in most cases better it is fair to say.
On your recent site visits, what did you find to be your weakness at the buffet?
I’m a big fan of good, sweet, fresh pineapple. So anyone who has delicious fresh pineapple on their buffet is going to get top marks from me.
I’ve heard that you have three rules that are very important to you. What are they?
Safety, quality and efficiency. The safety of our people and also the food safety element. We maintain the safety of our people and also the safety of our customers in terms of food safety. The second is quality, we perform our work well! We don’t take short cuts, we do it the right time the first time. We serve good food, we clean our rooms well, we invoice accurately, we answer the phones professionally, we do spreadsheets well. What ever we do we need to make sure we are doing a quality job. Thirdly, we are here to operate efficiently. We spend money like its our own, we don’t waste money and we continually look at ways to minimise and eliminate waste and we are focused commercially. So getting the order of safety, quality, efficiency right is key. It is challenging to do at times but if the entire company is thinking that way and we can hold ourselves accountable for those things, we’ll be ok.
Those values tie in really well to Morris core values. Have you carried these rules throughout your career?
I have. I must say I learned these in the brewing industry but I come from a food service background which is what Morris is famous for. The values fit with what we do here.
So you have a Bachelor of Applied Science, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Yes, I have a Bachelor of Applied Science with a major in mircro biology. I started out working in a Pathology lab doing clinical microbiology, clinical haematology and clinical bio-chemistry, and I did it for six years. I’ve also completed a Masters of Business Administration and I’ve also done a graduate diploma in Operations Management. And I’ve done it all part time which means 13 years part time study. I really wanted to be a brewer when I was in high school and I eventually got into the brewing industry.
What is your favourite drink?
My absolute favourite drink is of course, beer, specifically, Hahn premium, which is one of my brews I worked on a long time ago.
So Rod, you are a family man with four children. How do you maintain work life harmony.
I have a view that I work hard during the week and dedicate the weekend to my family. At the moment my family is living in Sydney so I don’t get to see them during the week but when I’m home, I dedicate my time to spending time with them. I also find getting up early and working out to help in this area too. It is something I do that is just for me and going for a run or going for a swim is my time to switch off for a little bit.
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this but here at Morris we refer to each other by nick names. Usually the nick name is our surname. For example, Fiona’s nick name is ‘Berko’, Peter Filshie is “Filsh’
No, I wasn’t aware of that.
Over your career your have spent a lot of time in both Sydney and Brisbane. Cockroach or Canetoad?
Cockraoch! I was born and bred in Sydney. I will support NSW (particularly rugby league) until the day I die. I still support NSW in Rugby Union but not as passionately as I do the League. Cronulla Sharks is the NRL team I support and Southern Districts is the club rugby team I support. I also cheer on the NSW Warratahs … and of course … the Blues!
So all of our Western Australian readers are wondering about your AFL alliances?
AFL is an interesting game, but I don’t know much about it. I’ve been to a couple of grand finals in Melbourne, I’ve watched the Sydney Swans and I’ve even been to the Gabba to watch the Lions. Sydney Swans is the team I support.
What was your first job?
I got my first job when I was fifteen and it was manually putting the inserts into the Sunday paper.
What was your career highlight to date?
Winning Grand Champion Beer at the Australian Beer Awards. While I’m a brewer by trade, by this stage of my career I was operations director for Lion Nathan, so I felt a huge sense of accomplishment that having lead the team to the victory.
Can you share any tips or challenges that you’ve faced along the way?
Tips: treat people how you want to be treated. Lead people how you want to be lead. We’re all part of a team and everyone has a boss, so try and be the boss or leader that you would like.
Challenges: You’ve got to have perseverance, you have to be prepared to have tough, hard days and enjoy the good times. You have to prepared after tough times to get back up. Perseverance is pretty key.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spend time with the kids. I enjoy getting out on the surf ski which I paddle for fitness.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
You manage processes and machines but you lead people. A lot of people try and manage other people but if you think in these terms, you’ll be ok.
Can you describe your ideal holiday?
A nice boat, warm weather, cold beer and my family.
Name five people dead or alive you’d invite to a dinner party.
Barak Obama, John Bertram (Americas Cup Skipper), Don Bradman, Kerri Packer, Reg Gasnier
Anything you’d like to add?
I’m looking forward to many, many years of success with everyone in the Morris Team.