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Future directors sign up

Finance company recruits three trainee directors via programme on three to four-month terms.
Posted on 28 November, 2023
From left: Chris Elles, Dean Paterson and Simon Wolfgram  

MTF Finance and the Institute of Directors (IoD) have announced three new future directors will join the company’s board on a temporary basis in 2024.

The Future Director programme gives up-and-coming board members the chance to gain first-hand experience of the director’s role in preparation for taking on future directorships. 

Under the IoD’s programme, host boards have certain responsibilities towards participants, including allowing them to observe board dynamics while contributing and adding value throughout their term.

Simon Wolfgram joins MTF’s board for term one from February 1 to April 30. He has been a part-owner operator at the branch in Manukau for the past 10 years, while also being heavily involved with those in Mount Wellington and Takanini as part of the family business. 

Wolfgram has been involved in the car industry and vehicle finance in some shape or form for the past 25 years. He’s keen to learn how the board operates and will use his time in the programme to pursue his interest in an MTF Finance board position. 

Chris Elles has signed up for term two, which is from May 1 to August 31. He started his career in semi-conductor manufacturing before becoming a leader at early-stage Amazon.com. He has also served in numerous leadership positions in the NZ Army since 2003.

Elles is a 2016 alumnus of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He has been the managing director of the multi-award-winning Christchurch dealership Rolling Thunder Harley-Davidson and an MTF Finance member since 2001.

Dean Paterson has taken up the third term from October 1 to December 31. He is the owner-operator of MTF Finance New Plymouth and one of the company’s longest-running franchise owners.

Previously a vehicle dealer with the finance firm for 20 years, Paterson began MTF’s  New Plymouth franchise in 2008 and has since been a member and chairman of the Franchise Advisory Council. 

Paterson has a passion for IT and recognises that MTF Finance’s success needs to benefit all shareholders in many diverse spaces. He’s keen to learn how to help create value for the company in the governance space.

This marks the second year MTF Finance has backed the IoD’s Future Directors programme, having already inducted three business owners into it during 2023.

Skills learned by these business owners during their three-month terms will serve them not only in their own companies, but also in taking a greater governance role in their business communities.

Board chairman Mark Darrow says: “As a member organisation, it’s important we develop new directors from within the small shareholder base. We’ve been delighted with the calibre and number of people putting their hand up to develop their governance skills and to have a deeper involvement with MTF Finance.”

Sarah Deans, of the Institute of Directors, adds: “The IoD is delighted to continue working with MTF Finance and supporting its Future Director programme. 

“The opportunity for originators to participate as future directors on MTF Finance’s board is an invaluable chance to gain hands-on governance experience and a deeper understanding of how boards work, as well as contribute to developing strategies and addressing challenges affecting their industry.”

Hamish Jacob, MTF Finance Thorndon franchise owner and former candidate, was one of three applicants selected for the 2023 MTF Finance Future Director programme and has attended board meetings through the final quarter of 2023.  
“This is a great initiative by MTF Finance as it allows those potentially interested in future directorships to understand the true role of a company director in a board environment,” he adds.  “I have been able to experience the full gambit of these roles and be involved in each board meeting.  

“Many do not realise the work that company directors put in behind the scenes and the unseen hours invested by these directors. The extent of how committees operate and report to the board has been enlightening and assists in understanding how decisions are made.”

Jacob says the Future Director scheme provides a rewarding experience and he encourages others interested in directorships to apply.