EDGE Creative | Fisher & Paykel Healthcare: A Founder’s Farewell

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare: A Founder’s Farewell

  • Event CEO Farewell
  • Audience Staff - local and streamed globally
  • Attendees 2000 in Auckland site, 3500 globally
  • Length 1 day
  • Location Onsite at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare offices, Auckland

How a business says goodbye – how you honour and celebrate someone who is leaving – makes a profound statement to the people who remain.

This has been one of our most rewarding pieces of work. Celebrating a life’s work with memories, family, laughter and tears. A leader acknowledged in a deeply honouring way. A deeply Kiwi way too, with cake at his desk, surrounded by thousands of people all around the world.
The Go-To Communication SpecialistsThe Go-To Event Management Specialists

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare needed to find a way to farewell and honour the man who had lead their business for 26 years, CEO Mike Daniell. Over the course of more than 30 years this man helped build F&P’s healthcare business from a tiny division into an incredibly profitable global business leading its industry and employing thousands of people around the world.

Our purpose was to honour Mike Daniell with maximum effect while remaining absolutely true to the boundaries of their culture.

For the culture of an organisation, what could be more important than an excellent goodbye? For the people who stay, it shows them how much they are valued. That’s really important.

We classified this celebration as a highly strategic event, so we asked to do what we always do with highly strategic events. We asked to spend an hour and a half with the leadership team, running through our EPO Process.

Really? For a farewell?

Yes! It’s so important. We acknowledge these leaders are busy running a large global company. We respect their time and that is why we bring world-class strategic tools into the meeting. It’s the maths of co-creation: 1+1+1=111

The leadership team agreed that for everyone in the organisation, this is actually a highly significant culture-building experience.

So then we asked them: how do you usually farewell someone?

The answer was pure, low-key F&P culture.

“We have a cake and we gather around their desk.”

“Well, let’s do that!” we replied.

“How can you do that with thousands of people across four continents?”

Leave that to us.

When You Need to Translate StrategyWhen You Need to Translate Strategy…

The leadership team agreed it would be great if we could deliver the company tradition on a global scale. We had to crack how to do it.

We chose lunchtime in Auckland as the most convenient time for the company’s worldwide audience.

We put huge 3mm-pitch digital screens in staff cafes around the F&P site.

We put black drapes behind the CEOs desk and cameras in front.

It was going to be like a live broadcast of This Is Your Life in real time right around the globe. So we assembled a book of memories, moments, photographs and mementos from Mike’s career and the growth of F&P Healthcare.

Into Action… Into Action…

150 people gathered around in person – including family – as Mike came out from behind his desk and sat in a Hollywood director’s chair to be interviewed while thousands of people watched from across the world, enjoying a lot of cake.

The event was exactly 43 minutes long: like an hour of commercial television, with the energy, fun and humour of a live TV host and a lot of moving memories on video and in person.

Faster…Faster

The cost of doing this was not huge, but everyone in the business saw how their business honours someone. They see it as an expression of a company that cares about its people and remembers their stories.

The leadership team, who initially had to be convinced of the value of the EPO process, gathered in the boardroom afterwards and watched our recording of the whole event from start to finish.

Mike wrote a letter of thanks, expressing how much he had worried about it beforehand, but how honoured he had felt in the moment.

You only get one chance to say goodbye and to show those who remain how much you value them. It’s the real test. It is pinnacle moments like these that accelerate business momentum, even by saying “goodbye”.