Michael Crouch AC

Michael Crouch AC

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This is the welcoming letter written by Michael Crouch in an invitation to “Gavin Lockley’s ‘Ballads of the Bush’” presented by the Symphony of Australia in the City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney Australia on Tuesday 13 October 2009, 8PM: Gala benefit in aid of the ‘The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS)’.

Performances also on Thursday 15 October 2009, 2PM and 8PM and Friday 16 October 2009, 2PM and 8PM

Michael Crouch is a great personal friend who has also made a huge impact on Scone and District since acquiring Waverley Station from the Payne Family. His major contribution to the town has been to establish the gourmet ‘The Cottage’ restaurant in Kelly Street. Our respective families have mingled happily for nigh on thirty years with much convivial social discourse.

Memorial Service for Michael Crouch AC

The Memorial Service of Celebration for the life of Michael Crouch AC was held on Tuesday 20 February 2018 at St James’ Church, King Street, Sydney @ 10:30am.

It was a stunning occasion. The Rector of St James’, The Reverend Andrew Semphell and the Rector of Darling Point, The Reverend Dr Michael Jensen conducted the service. Tributes were made by Robert Thomas AM and Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery AC AO (Military Division) CVO MC (Retired). Son George Crouch delivered an outstanding and passionate eulogy about his father. The Readers were Andrew Murray AM, Professor the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, The Honourable John Howard OM AC and son-in-law Alex Warner.

Michael Crouch

Born 27th May 1933

Died 9th February 2018

Husband of Shanny, Father of Charlotte, Sarah and George

Grandfather of William, Camilla, Harry, Violet, Edward and Hamish

Executive Chairman, Midgeon Holdings Pty Ltd

In 1962 Michael Crouch acquired a small Australian company, Zip Heaters, which had been formed in 1947 to market kitchen and bathroom water heaters. Under his management, Zip expanded its product range to include hot water appliances of many kinds and in the 1970s introduced the world’s first small instant boiling water heaters now widely used in homes, offices and restaurant kitchens. From 1970, Zip also developed under-bench drinking water appliances dispensing both instant boiling water and chilled filtered drinking water. Newer models also dispense sparkling chilled filtered water.

From 1982, Crouch appointed Zip distributors in Singapore, Taiwan, the Philippines and Thailand to cover South-East Asia. A distributor for Great Britain was engaged in 1987, and Zip products were introduced to Europe at trade shows in 1989 and 1991. A wholly owned subsidiary was formed in 1991 to handle UK distribution, and a distributor for Europe was appointed in 2002. A Zip subsidiary to handle distribution in New Zealand was established in 1996, and a joint venture partner in South Africa handles African marketing.

Michael Crouch maintained his position as CEO of Zip until December 2013. Since then he has continued as Chairman of Midgeon Holdings Pty Ltd, an Australian private company acting as a holding vehicle for his long term investments in Australian manufacturing, beef production, meat processing and property.

Michael Crouch AC is Founder and former Executive Chairman (1962-2013) of Zip Industries (Aust) Pty Ltd, which pioneered the design and manufacture of instant boiling water and filtered drinking water appliances now widely used in some 70 countries.

In 1988, he was appointed Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to conservation and the community. In 1996, he was appointed Officer of the Order of St John for his service to St John Ambulance Australia, and was named Exporter of the Year by the Australian Electronic & Electrical Manufacturers’ Association.

Government appointments include: Member, Australian Government Trade Policy Advisory Council 1996-1999; Member, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (APEC) 1996-2007; and as one of three representatives of Prime Minister John Howard to the APEC Business Advisory Council 1996-2007.

In 2001 he was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society through international trade development. In 2004 he was appointed Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to manufacturing, for development of export markets and for service to the community through conservation and charitable organizations.

He served as a Director, Advisory Committee and Member, Advisory Council, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales 2001-2012 and in 2007 received the first UNSW Honorary Doctorate of Business in recognition of his extensive and sustained contribution to business and the broader community.

In 2012 he received the Duke of Edinburgh’s Pin as a World Fellow of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. In 2013, he received an Australian Export Heroes Award from the Export Council of Australia.​

In 2014 he continues as Chairman of the Friends of the Royal Flying Doctor Service; as Chairman, Advisory Committee, Brain and Mind Research Institute, Sydney University; as Chairman and Director, Diamond Jubilee Partnership Pty Ltd; as Deputy President, National Board of the Friends of the Duke of Edinburgh Award in Australia; and as Chairman, National Boer War Memorial Fund.

Meet Michael Crouch, the Rich 200’s oldest debutant and Australian manufacturing’s highest hope

By Michael Bailey

“Sounds like I went into the wrong business,” says Zip Industries founder Michael Crouch, upon hearing that there are 53 property moguls in 2014’s BRW Rich 200 list, but only 12 who, like him, owe their wealth to manufacturing.

Yet Crouch’s path to his $310 million fortune could point to a future for wealth creation in Australia, even if at 81 he is the oldest debutant on this year’s list.

As the car industry closes down, Zip Industries’ appliances – which deliver instant boiling water to offices and homes in 70 countries – presents as a shining example of a world-conquering Australian invention that is still manufactured here.

“If I was starting today, I’d do exactly the same thing,” says Crouch, who last December sold a majority stake in Zip to Quadrant Private Equity. The move ended an era which began with his purchase of a modest Sydney hot water heater manufacturer in 1962.

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“If you’re manufacturing in a plant, it’s best to have everything under one eye,” Crouch says. In 1980, he patented his process to produce instant boiling water, a twin-tank design that in standby mode uses less power than a 40-watt light bulb.

“Having your R&D resources and your engineers all under the one roof allows you to make running changes. We went 12 years there where our combined costs of labour and materials didn’t rise – whatever increases there were, we introduced modifications and efficiencies to offset them.”

Would-be manufacturers should not worry about what the Australian government can do for them, Crouch believes – he admits he once got an export grant for $1400 – but instead utilise what Australia itself provides.

“The big ones are stability and the quality of the people.

“I had one guy run my factory for 30 years, and the latest has been there for 14 years, and that stability has been so important.”

Crouch seriously considered outsourcing manufacturing once, at the Hong Kong brush factory of expatriate Australian Donald Hay.

“My head of manufacturing said it was the cleanest factory, with the most attention to detail he’d ever seen, but in the end we decided it just wasn’t for us.”

Zip’s new owners have committed to retaining its western Sydney manufacturing base. Crouch, meanwhile, is now focusing his manufacturing know-how on a different type of production – that of beef.

“We don’t want to be a me-too producer here, either. The same principle applies – you single out a market and you pursue it with passion.”

Bulls from Crouch’s property at Scone in the NSW Hunter Valley are sent down to commercial herds the family runs on King Island and Flinders Island.

The family supplies a third-generation abattoir, Greenham, in north-western Tasmania. Crouch says that business is doing great work in trying to open an American market for grass-fed beef, where the “tasteless” grain-fed variety currently reigns.