The Outspoken Entrepreneur Down Under: Gerry Harvey

As the rest of the world struggled to recover from the last economic recession, Australia remained largely unaffected. The country has low unemployment rates with booming resources. Such conditions make entrepreneur retailers like Gerry Harvey optimistic about their business. There’s just one problem he must solve: Australians don’t want to spend.

Before becoming a retail giant, urging people to be happy and spend, Harvey wanted to become a farmer. He never enjoyed his stay at the university and hated accountancy and economics. Yet, in a life of paradoxes, he finds himself being all the things he never wanted to be: a lawyer, accountant, and businessman.

But apart from being a man of his stature, Harvey is described as a regular Australian guy, approachable and always eager to chat. The only thing that sets him apart is that he is a billionaire and founder of a large furniture and home entertainment retailing store.

His retail store began in 1961, when Harvey and friend Ian Norman teamed up to sell electrical goods. Their business clicked and grew, until the infamous Australian businessman Alan Bond bought them out and fired them both.

The partners went back to zero, this time opening the “Harvey Norman” branded store. Again, the partners achieved success. They became a publicly traded company in 1987. Harvey continues to be the chairman of the company, with stores located in Australia and some countries in Europe and Asia.

As chairman, Harvey is responsible for leading the company to success, according to market behavior and government regulation. He’s not one to stand by and watch. Harvey often makes his opinions heard; one example is his call to tax online sales equally to save retailers.

As a businessman, Harvey is an admired figure in the industry. He showed how a young entrepreneur can bounce back after loss, and how an experienced one can fight to keep the business afloat.


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