Following the news of the passing of former Smeg Australia managing director, Andrew Cronin, key retail partners reflected on their relationships with him, remembering him for his passion, determination and tenacity as a leading figure for the Smeg business and entire appliance industry.

On behalf of Narta, CEO Michael Jackson and chairman, Kay Spencer provided the following comment to Appliance Retailer.

“The news of Andrew is sad and the Narta team’s thoughts and prayers are with Anne and their three children during this time. Andrew was a man of passion for both our industry and his family.

“Over many years our relationship with Andrew was not only business, however also one of friendship. As we did when Andrew left Smeg about five years ago, we reflect again today as we did then. For as many laughs and fun times we shared, Andrew had a determination when he believed in something to communicate his beliefs and he always did this with tenacity and a strong ethos.

“Never shied away from saying how it was, but at the same time always listened in difficult conversations. Still to this day, the Narta team refer to a meeting we had with Andrew at IFA many years ago where he shared very candidly his views on some industry issues.

“We always admired his involvement in our joint strategies and if things did not go to plan because it was out of our control, he would always say ‘It is what is, and we can’t do anything about it’. But then Andrew would bring a calmness adding ‘Don’t stress, we will work it out together’.

“His time in our industry will always be remembered as one that brought change. He made the big calls and tough calls, all to create a better business, which made for a better industry. When Andrew left Smeg, his reasons and subsequent actions also gave a valuable lesson – to keep perspective in life. One that is thoughtful and has clear boundaries between work and the value of family.

“Thank you for all the memories, Andrew, you will be sorely missed by the entire Narta family.”

e&s owner and CEO, Rob Sinclair recalled first meeting Andrew in 1996 when e&s first began exploring a specialty cooking appliance showroom upstairs in the original Ashburton store.

“Andrew personally flew to Melbourne to meet and review the plans we had created for the store and after long discussions established our trading account with Smeg and our first Smeg display,” he said.

“He always had a personal interest in the success of Smeg at e&s and we owe so much of our current success to the early foundations and support from Andrew. His love of the Smeg brand and its beautiful products, the Bertazzoni family and the incredible team that was representing Smeg all around Australia was legendary. ‘The crow’ will be missed.”

Spartan director, Con Tsoutouras said, “We are saddened beyond words at the loss of such a wonderful man and a wonderful friend. Our thoughts are with Ann, the kids and the Smeg family. He will be missed by the entire appliance industry.”

Bing Lee CEO Lionel Lee described Andrew as a gentleman, “knowledgeable, compassionate and sometimes hard….but a fair man”.  

He added: “Andrew gave our business the opportunity to expand into European cooking and we will always remember that. He will be missed.”

Harvey Norman executive director, David Ackery believes Andrew played a significant role in the success of the Smeg business and that his influence can’t be underestimated.

“He built a great team and his relationships with dealers, including Harvey Norman management and proprietors was always open, honest and credible. On a personal level, he was just a fun human being. Speaking to members of the Smeg team about his passing, their emotional response shows that their relationship with Andrew went beyond that of principal and staff,” he told Appliance Retailer.

Winning Group CEO, John Winning told Appliance Retailer, “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Andrew. He was one of the most well-respected people in the industry, contributing over 35 years. I’d never heard anyone say a bad word about him as a person, or a businessman, he was just a pleasure to have around or be around as a friend or a business partner. On behalf of the entire Winning Group team, my father and myself, we send our deepest sympathies to Andrew’s family and loved ones during this difficult time. He is a legend of our industry and will be remembered fondly.” 

Winning Appliances ambassador, John Murphy added: “Andrew was an absolute gentleman of the industry. He played a straight bat and was very approachable. He made a significant contribution, including overseeing and pioneering changes to the industry. He was one of a kind and we are all the better for knowing him. My deepest sympathies to Andrew’s wife, children and to his family members. He will be greatly missed.”