Case IH dealer O’Connors forcasts a leadership change

Incoming O’Connors CEO Gareth Webb (left) will be taking over the reins from Managing Director Mark O’Connor who is set to retire later in 2018 following 42 years of service

Mark O’Connor is coming off an award-winning run as he hands over the O’Connors Case IH dealership reins at the end of 2018, after 42 years service to the company.

At a ceremony during Case IH’s dealer conference in Sun City, South Africa, O’Connors for the second year in a row took out the Case IH Dealer of the Year for three branches or more.

The Dealer of the Year results are based on a raft of different criteria, including finance and business management, performance in sales and marketing, and parts and servicing, Advanced Farming Systems (AFS) Certification and total market share.

O’Connors has amassed a strong following from its six dealerships with branches in Birchip, Horsham, Warracknabeal, and Shepparton Vic, Corowa NSW and Bordertown SA. Being the only Case IH dealer that sells across three states.

From left to right: O’Connors staff Gareth Webb, David Hair, Mark O’Connor, Lisa Day, Ryan O’Connor, Richard Lewis and Michael McGough with Bruce Healy, Case IH Brand Leader – Australia and New Zealand

O’Connors’ Case IH dealership has always been run as a family business. Dealer principal Mark O’Connor is the son of the business’s founder JJ O’Connor who started the foundation of the company in 1964.

According to Chairman of the board, Richard Lewis, Mark will be replaced by Group Operations Manager Gareth Webb, who will take on the role of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from 1st July 2018, allowing for a generous transition period before Mark’s retirement commences.

“On behalf of O’Connors, I thank Mark for his continued efforts to ensure the business remains a market leader in total farming equipment solutions,” said Richard, who adds that Mark will continue to serve the company through his position on the board.

“With Mark’s intention to remain on the board, a six-month leadership changeover period and an internal appointment in Gareth, we are confident O’Connors will continue to deliver a first-class service to our customers.”

Having worked for O’Connors since 2004, Gareth began his employment in the Sales Team at Birchip, before taking on the role as Branch Manager. He has held his current role of Operations Manager for 4 years.

Gareth’s appointment will be the first time in the company’s 54-year history that the head of the organisation is a professional from outside the family. According to Richard this is just another example of O’Connors’ commitment to the ongoing success of the business.

“There remains a strong family involvement in the company, both at staff and board level, and we are confident that Gareth’s appointment as CEO is the right decision to ensure we continue supporting our customers’ farming businesses to the highest level possible,” said Richard.

Whilst he is incredibly humbled, Gareth says he’s not fazed by the change in era. “It’s a great honour to be appointed to the role. I’m very respectful of all of Mark’s efforts and I know he is handing over the reins to a company with a proud history and a strong foundation for me to build upon,” said Gareth, who is looking forward to the transition.

“I’m grateful to Mark for initiating such a measured retirement plan from a handover perspective. I’ve learnt a lot from him during my time at O’Connors and I know his guidance between now and the end of the year, combined with support from the board, will help me ensure O’Connors remains at the forefront of the market when it comes to customer service and commitment.”

Check out O’Connors six branch product inventory at: