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Brown Brothers

Key Learnings

  • The importance of Brand and its role in business
  • Financial P&L, Balance Sheet, key ratios etc
  • The role of the Board and Business Strategy
  • Leadership and Strategy in a Volunteer Organisation (Quest)
  • Information Technology Strategy, Leadership and Implementation
  • Leadership, Culture, Management and Structure in a Family Business

Summary

John was the first of the 4th generation to join the family business. He has had broad exposure to the business at all levels.

Brown Brothers is a highly successful and professional family business operating in rural Australia. At the core of the organisation is a long term committment to developing the brand, high quality expectations "across the board" and a deep committment to the organisations culture. The wine industry is an unexpectedly complex business spanning primary, secondary and tertiary industries delivering a subjective product in a highly competitive industry on a global stage.

Vision: To be the best family wine company in the World.

Mission:Brown Brothers is committed to being a family owned, profitable wine company, leading the industry through innovation in grape growing, winemaking and the marketing of a premium brand that exceeds our customers’ expectations.
We care actively for the environment, the community and our people.

A family member working at Brown Brothers must wear a number of different "hats".

Employment

First and foremost, John was employed by Brown Brothers. He held many roles spanning Marketing, Winery, Finance, and most influentially, Information Technology. The clarity and success of the Information Technology strategy and implementation placed Brown Brothers in an enviable position. The Information Technology strategy was built around a comprehensive understanding of the business and a committment to partnership with excellent Information Technology vendors. The successful implementation was a result of a sound understanding of change management, insightful leadership and focus.

Public Relations

The Brown Brothers brand is inextricably linked to the Brown Family. As such, any member of the family has a marketing role which involves interacting with consumers, retailers, wholesalers, supermarkets, resturanters, importers and the media. This responsibility demands a thorough knowledge of the brand, the business, the wine industry and well developed social, presentation and media interaction skills.

Family

The Brown family is integrily involved in the business at all levels; shareholding, Board, Management, employee, consumer. A family member employed at Brown Brothers has the opportunity to participate at many levels. However this opportunity carries with it a considerable responsibility to nurture the culture and respect the organisation's management heirachy.

Certainly John was employeed in many areas of the business and reported to many Managers at various positions in the heirachy. The pinnacle role as CIO, reporting to the General Manager participated on the Senior Management team along with Finance, Marketing, Human Resources and Operations. In addition, John was invited to attend Board meetings in his third year. This provided a perspective open to few employees in business - the opportunity to learn and question the Strategy, Governance, Funding and Risk Management of the Business at the highest level.