By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: After 15 years of incredibly successful operations under the stewardship of retired managing director Ross Cameron, Dyson Australia has its new — and only second in its history — boss: Michael Read.

Read comes to the Dyson Australia MD position after successful management positions in the liquor and tobacco industries. Upon his recruitment, he undertook a whirlwind world tour, visiting manufacturing facilities in Malaysia and the Dyson head office in Malmesbury, in southwest England.

Unlike the liquor and tobacco industries — both classically brand-based FMCG markets — Dyson is a company that has build its reputation on providing differentiation through engineering accomplishments. Its vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans are high-end appliances that play at the value end of the market. This is a new challenge for Read, but he acknowledges and looks forward to.

“When your product is so similar to the competition’s, brand is all you have,” Read said. “It’s a tough training ground for marketers.” 

“But Dyson is different: our technology sets us apart. I’m now working with something that’s entirely different and better.  It will be more fun.”

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Read’s predecessor, Ross Cameron, experienced tremendous success as Dyson Australia’s foundation MD. His philosophy was to provide better technology to consumers, providing them with the machines to perform traditional tasks more effectively. Whereas Cameron’s background was in engineering, Read’s background is in business and management. Interestingly, both share SC Johnson as a former employer.

“I’ve big shoes to fill, no doubt. It was an intensive interview,” Read said. ”But I can see that you need to be a certain kind of person to succeed here — determined and not afraid to take some risks.”

Read’s interests include surfing, waterskiing and motorbikes.

For a full account of Ross Cameron’s time as Dyson MD, read James Wells’ Last Word column in the May 2011 edition of Appliance Retailer.