Graham Dear has stepped in as the new general manager for Leading Edge Computers. He replaces Ross Whitelaw, who passed away on March 13 after suffering from a serious illness.
Dear joined the Leading Edge Group in Australia in 2006 as general manager for business development after serving as the group's interim New Zealand CEO for 12 months. Prior to that, he spent three years operating his own retail and wholesale appliances business as well as a retail consultancy practice.
His resume includes a range of positions in the retail space including managing director of national field merchandised services company, Brands on Show, and general manager of WC Penfold. Early in his career, he worked as a national merchandise manager for Woolworths.
Leading Edge Group CEO, Keith Lane, said Dear had done a great job as the group's interim NZ CEO and was earmarked to become Whitelaw's successor if he had retired.
He said Dear was also instrumental in formalising the group's new relationship with Kodak to manage its Express digital stores and stockists channel.
"Graham has significant retail experience at a corporate level as well as B2B experience. Most of our computer business is B2B, so he is an ideal candidate for the [general manager's] role," Lane said. "He has also been independent himself and has empathy for our retailers and understand their perspective.
"It was easy for him to slip into this role and was a known quantity."