Mike Putt has retired after 36 years working in the appliance industry – initially for Westinghouse and Email Major Appliances which became Electrolux Home Products and since 2014 he has been the local managing director for the Swedish company that has turned 100 this year.
An EHP spokesperson has confirmed to Appliance Retailer that an announcement on Putt’s replacement will not be made until 2020.
In November 2000, EHP acquired Email Appliances and in the 19 years since, there have been only three managing directors of the business and Putt places the two other MDs – Trevor Carroll and John Brown – as two of the most influential people he has worked for.
“I reported to Trevor as sales director and he had a huge influence on my career. He displayed a great determination and resilience. John Brown took over in 2008 and he was a great product specialist as well as a tremendous thinker and when John left the role to work for the company in China I was lucky to be appointed as acting managing director for one year and was then appointed in 2014.”
Another person Putt names as an influence on his career was the former GM of Westinghouse and Hoover, Mike Coughlan who gave Putt the confidence to move from managing Queensland to the head office in Sydney.
“Mike Coughlan really instilled the values of integrity, openness, honesty, honouring commitments and reinforcing the importance of relationships and in my time at the company we have never deviated from that. He was the sort of leader who provided great support if you were doing it tough and could also make you feel bullet proof. If you did the wrong thing however, it was addressed and after 30 seconds we moved on.”
Other influential people include Queensland retailer Tom Edwards from Retravision to the unmistakable influence of Narta’s Kay Spencer and his former Chandlers colleague, David Ackery.
“I have worked in the industry with David for 40 years and with Kay for more than 20 years and there is no one I respect or admire more. They have both been very supportive of me.”
Displaying his signature modesty as always, Putt claims he has few pearls of wisdom, and prefers to reflect on others rather than himself.
“After I leave, I know the company is in very good shape, and we have some extraordinary talent and wonderful relationships with customers. I’ve always wanted to be better today than I was yesterday and when I think about it – Mike Putt didn’t really do anything. If he did anything, he surrounded himself with the most talented people, and then when they did great work, I made sure they were acknowledged for their work. The real achievement for me has been the people I have worked with.
“When I announced my retirement, I was quite humbled and overwhelmed with the number of people who contacted me to wish me well – colleagues I had worked with, customers and even competitors. What surprised me was how many reminded me of conversations we had had, or something I said to them. If I was able to help people, then I am leaving a very happy man.”
Read more of our exclusive interview with Mike Putt, just days before his retirement, in the Appliance Retailer December magazine.