By FRANCIS ULIAU
COLIN Vale is returning home to Australia after 20 years of serving and growing the Lihir-based Anitua Group of Companies as its chief executive director.
Vale told a farewell gathering at Londolovit town field in Lihir on Friday “the value of the Anitua Group is worth 100 times more than it was before I took over” in 1996.
“The group is far more unified and has great safety, communication, administrative and human resource systems in place,” he said.
Vale said before 2007 when he took over the management of the group after moving from Nationwide Catering Services where he was the general manager, the Anitua Group was “very dysfunctional and unprofitable”.
“This is now a thing of the past. I have tried my hardest to grow the group and we’ve had a few fantastic years,” he said.
The Anitua Group had grown and diversified nationally and abroad, boasting 11 subsidiaries and many joint ventures.
Its most successful business entity is the Nationwide Catering Services with operations in most parts of the country.
Another subsidiary that has made inroads in the business sector is Anitua Security, with operations in the New Guinea Islands and the National Capital District.
Vale started working with a firm called DKFD in October 1995. After 18 months, he was appointed general manager of NCS, a body hire company.
“The first instructions to me were to get the catering contract. And my first meeting with the mine developer (Lihir Mining Company) chief executive officer John O’Reilly did not go well,” he said.
“He kicked me out of his office, yelling that the landowners will never get that catering contract. I was really wondering what I was doing here (in Lihir). But with persistence and proving that Lihirians can perform, we slowly but surely gave the developer confidence in our ability to take over the catering contract.
“Today, the NCS is easily the largest catering company in PNG. I am very proud of NCS Lihir, especially seeing it mature over the years.”
By FRANCIS ULIAU