An interview with Nicki French of Grace in Australia as she settles into her new role as director - Moving Services.
Nicki French has recently taken on the role of director - Moving Services for Grace in Australia. It’s a promotion from her previous position as general manager operations. Working with Australia’s largest, and probably most well-known moving company, owned for more than 25 years by Jim Thompson, has given Nicki considerable experience and a direct insight into how this important market survived the COVID years, what has happened since and what the future may hold.
Previously, former Managing Director, Steven Brown, managed the moving services division directly, but with the significant growth and diversification of the Grace group of companies and with Steven’s retirement last September, it was decided to have moving services led by its own director. This led to Nicki’s appointment to the new role that includes management of international and domestic moving, fine art and self storage. Stephen Bonollo will continue to take specific responsibility for the international moving activities.
The COVID effect
Nicki said that the COVID years had been tricky, managing all the regions of Australia, the New Zealand offices and the service centre in the Philippines. “People think about Australia being one country but in fact it's eight independent states and every state has its own legislation.” This was particularly difficult to handle, especially when interstate travel was not allowed.
The Grace business is about 50/50 corporate and private. Despite the isolation, the company did pretty well during the COVID years. “There was no government support for Kiwis living in Australia so they left in droves,” Nicki explained. There were also a lot of Australians returning home. Storage did well too with goods staying in store because people were unable to travel internationally or interstate with all borders closed.
The return of nationals caused waves in the housing market ...
Photo: Nicki French.