By James Wells

WHISTLER, CANADA: Appliance Connexion chairman Peter Drummond has paid tribute to his colleague and mate, the late Wayne Burton, in a heartfelt tribute at the beginning of the 2009 Narta Conference this morning.

Burton was killed tragically in a hit-and-run accident in Auckland two weeks ago while walking with his wife Heather. Burton, a 29-year veteran of the appliance industry, worked for Kenwood, RTS, Retravision before his 10 year tenure at Appliance Connexion, which included being appointed as general manager when the group formed and then shortly afterwards becoming the CEO of the largest independent home appliance electronic buying group in New Zealand.

“Wayne Burton – a leader, a mentor, a gentleman and a friend,” Drummond said this morning in his tribute at the beginning of the conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Whistler.

“Wayne was passionate about his work.  He was also passionate about his staff. He was a perfectionist, and would spend many hours preparing for a presentation or a conference. He would seek and consider all options from his team in the developing of policies and procedures that would enable Appliance Connexion to stand out in the market place and to return maximum profitability to his members. Many a cunning plan was prepared and implemented. And if one of the plans didn’t work, it was simple; he would just go to Plan B.

“Wayne was a gentleman who made time for everybody. He had a wonderful ability to mix and mingle at all levels, and put people at ease. It was Wayne who first met with Kay Spencer from Narta and so from there a strong relationship developed. Wayne was very proud of his relationship with Narta. He and Heather were excited about their trip to Whistler for the conference."