New Summerset Group CEO Scott Scoullar: furniture-maker descendant, car collector

Recently appointed Summerset Group chief executive Scott Scoullar is a descendant of a Dunedin mayor who co-founded one of New Zealand’s largest furniture manufacturing businesses.

He is also a Mustang collector and has many prized early Japanese-manufactured vehicles.

Scottish migrant Arthur Scoullar (1830s–1899) was the mayor of Dunedin in 1888 and a founder of Scoullar & Chisholm, which employed hundreds at its prominent factory in that city as well as establishing a branch in Wellington.

Some of the furniture is still traded today.

“I tried to buy one of their dining suites in a second-hand shop in Masterson but missed out on it,” recalls Scoullar. “I’d love some of their furniture.”

He is also big into cars.

“I have nine,” he says of a fleet he keeps mainly out of Wellington where he lives. They’re at a holiday home.

Two Mustangs and Japanese-manufactured collectibles including Subaru and Mitsubishi are in the collection.

Son Regan, 15, races small vehicles which go up to 110km/h and Scoullar is his “wing man”.

“If I’m not here at Summerset, I’ll be at a race track somewhere in New Zealand – mechanic, coach, driver, trainer, cook, fuel card supplier,” says Scoullar who lives in Tawa and whose parents owned petrol stations.

He is married to Janne and they also have a daughter, Makyla, 18.

Scoullar studied accounting at Victoria University and much of his career has been in banking and tax.

He joined what was the National Bank of New Zealand in 1994. That eventually became ANZ, where he was a senior manager of performance management.

In 2006 he joined Inland Revenue, where he was a financial controller. In 2008 he was appointed chief financial officer.

In 2012 he went to work for the government at Housing New Zealand, where he was chief financial officer.

In 2014 he went to Summerset and became chief financial officer, being appointed into his current CEO role in March this year.

The company has 33 villages, where 6000 people have licenses to occupy. Scoullar says the company ranks second to Ryman Healthcare. Summerset has a $3 billion market cap, compared to Ryman’s $6.5b.

Asked about possible reforms sought by Associate Housing Minister Poto Williams, Scoullar says: “I think there’s always things you can do but continue to improve and evolve, like to promote residents’ voices.”

But on Williams’ suggestion the industry offers clearer contracts to resolve difficulties some say mean not even lawyers can understand what’s in the document, Scoullar says: “Summerset has driven plain English contract. But there are opportunities to make them plainer and keep evolving. We’ve done three reviews.”

And should residents share capital gains?

“We use the captain gains to pay for amenities on the site. We use them to pay doubt debts on facilities over a period of time.”

On Summerset’s controversial $300 million high-rise Parnell development, he says that’s being appealed to the Environment Court. An eight-level project for 216 apartments, 100 hospital rooms and 235 parking spaces at 23 and 41 Cheshire St has been applied for.


Role: Summerset Group chief executive.
Last movie watched: Fast & Furious.
Last holiday: Gold Coast, pre-Covid.
Career: National/ANZ, Inland Revenue.

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