SUNBIZ

Gerald Barrack: Life Time Achiever

He may have dodged getting awarded whilst being on the Board of Trustees and as chairman of the Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards. But he could not hide any more.
21 Feb 2016 12:59
Gerald Barrack: Life Time Achiever
Gerald Barrack receives his Lifetime Achievement award from Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during the ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards at the Denarau Convention centre last Saturday night.

He may have dodged getting awarded whilst being on the Board of Trustees and as chairman of the Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards. But he could not hide any more.

Gerald Barrack, a great achiever, after many, many years of contributions towards our tourism sector, has been awarded the Lifetime Achiever Award in the 2015 ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards.

The Lifetime Achiever Award is given to an individual who the Trustees feel that in the course of their career, his or her achievements have influenced the tourism industry as a whole.

Mr Barrack served his apprenticeship in commerce where he was described as ‘extremely hard working, ambitious and with a talent for finances’.

He went on to head several prominent companies until in 1985 when the then Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara appointed him to be the chairman of a major Sugar Industry Commission, a position he filled with distinction for many years.

In 1987, he became chairman of our national airline, Fiji Airways, or as it was known then, Air Pacific.

In his 19 years as chairman, he oversaw the transformation of what was a struggling, financially-challenged, regional carrier, into a fully-fledged profitable, international airline.

Under his chairmanship, the airline progressively expanded the network including, commencing the first Los Angeles non-stop services and adding destinations such as Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Christchurch, Wellington, Melbourne, Honolulu and Vancouver and reinstating services from Suva to Auckland and Sydney.

He guided the airline through many turbulent years including the Gulf crisis, skyrocketing fuel prices, the global financial crisis and our own domestic issues.

Another major challenge he faced was the relocation of the company with 700 staff and their families from Suva to Nadi, with  multi-million-dollar investment in an aircraft maintenance and administration complex.

It was without a doubt one of the most ambitious corporate moves ever undertaken in Fiji.

His concern about tourism infrastructure to meet the strategic plan demand for new aircraft acquisition resulted in the airline eventually building what is the Sofitel Resort at Denarau.

Mr Barrack oversaw the progressive upgrading of the airline’s fleet including becoming the first airline in the Pacific region, even ahead of Qantas and Virgin, to purchase the new generation Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 aircraft.

In 2006, he oversaw the purchase of Sun Air, that operates today as Fiji Link.

He was one of the founding trustees for the Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards, serving as a trustee for 17 years before resigning in 2014.

For a number of those years, he was the chairman of the Trustees, taking over his old friend and the driving force behind the Awards, the late Dick Smith.

He has served on many board and been involved in many community activities.

He has been recognised in the Imperial and Fiji honours with the awarding of a CBE, that is Commander of the order of the British Empire as well as Companion of the Order of Fiji, the highest level of the highest award in the Fiji Honours Awards.

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