Top 30 Franchise Executives 2020 revealed

By Sarah Stowe | 25 Feb 2020 View comments

The Top 30 Franchise Executives 2020 report has been released, and winners announced at an industry event in Melbourne.

Steve Plarre, CEO of Victorian-based Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses, has taken out the number one spot. A franchise juggernaut who has introduced a high performers group for franchisees, Plarre has led the fourth-generation family business into the digital age.

He implemented a range of digital-first initiatives to boost network transparency which resulted in moving the entire IT infrastructure into the cloud, and building a customised internal ordering app.

Described by judges as “an inspiring leader that shows patience, endurance and drive” Plarre achieved results across the six categories on which executive submissions were evaluated: leadership, best practice, innovation, franchise citizenship, promoting positive franchising and personal development.

Judges commented “His passion and enthusiasm for his company and franchising is evident; he has an impressive and relentless dedication to personal professional development.”

The top five franchise executives

Steve Plarre took out the number one position, with Nicholas Woodward, COO at Pack & Send, ranked number two.

KX Pilates founder Aaron Smith was listed in third place, CouriersPlease CEO Mark McGinley took the fourth slot, and Lissa Becker, learning and development manager at Pack & Send was ranked fifth.

Judges were impressed by Woodward’s use of technology to make franchisees’ lives easier and more profitable at Pack & Send. In addition to tech improvements Woodward steered change management in the company, and helped reduce the firm’s environmental impact.

For KX Pilates founder Aaron Smith, stepping back as CEO and taking on a strategic was a huge shift but one that led to some fruitful endeavours, and praise from the judges.

“It is a great thing when a founder has the awareness to bring in a CEO take the business to the next level.”

CEO Mark McGinley’s no-nonsense approach at CouriersPlease has led to big picture transformation, turning the logistics business into a tech-based e-commerce company, and to improvements in day-to-day details: innovations that reduce the time spent by franchisees in sorting and delivering parcels, for instance.

Pack & Send’s learning and development manager Lissa Becker impressed judges with her strong performance in so many areas of business, including the positive promotion of the franchising industry. “Lissa has had an outstanding year and is an inspiration to all involved in the franchising sector.”

Read how these five stellar executives have tackled challenges, driven their businesses forward, and boosted franchisees’ wellbeing. Download the Top 30 Franchise Executives 2020 report here.

The Top 30

Congratulations to all the Top 30 Franchise Executives for their achievements.

The list of exceptional professionals this year includes executives in product development, franchise management, training, business development, operations, franchising and leasing, as well as founder and CEO roles.

Judges were drawn from across the sector – franchisors, franchisees, and industry suppliers. Bringing their expertise to the judging process:

  • Paul Constantinou, founder of Quest Apartment Hotels
  • Nikki Lawson of KFC (soon to be heading up Taco Bell’s global branding)
  • Mark Hawthorn, former Guzman y Gomez and McDonald’s executive
  • Crystal Petzer, of Hire A Hubby and The Alternative Board, franchisee
  • Sherwin Djamil, a multi-unit franchisee with Soul Origin
  • Jewli Turier, CEO of Franchise Relationships Institute
  • Bruce McFarlane, MD of BlueRock Law

The 2020 report, sponsored by BlueRock, is available to download here.