Everyone in the industry knows Picture Tree. They’ve been around longer than a Loeries hangover. Over the past 21 years the company has seen Gary King at the helm as Executive Producer. Gary has now decided to share the majority of his company with his employees. A producer with a heart or a mad man? We met with him at a coffee shop with a lovely view of a small parking lot surrounded by face brick…you guessed it, we’re in Joburg!
Sharing the majority of your company if you already have a good BEE rating seems like crazy talk for most business owners, but for Gary it makes total sense. When transformation was first discussed within the CPASA (Commercial Producers Association of South Africa) over a decade ago, Gary identified the importance of this kind of change within his own company and immediately took action.
One of the first moves he made was signing over 26% of Picture Tree to a Black Employees Trust and the company is now ready for the next step. Gary: ‘It has become time for me to share more of the responsibility and therefore more risk with the people that have made the company over the past 20 years. People like executive producer Scott Njumbuxa, producer Johnny Mabeba, production manager Nonhlanhla Masondo and accounts manager Devi Kuni.’ They have grown and stood alongside Gary through the good times and the bad and have formed part of Picture Tree for most of its existence. Gary has surrounded himself with a team that he’s not only mentored, but now trusts and admires. This has all lead to him sharing the managerial and decision making responsibilities, leaving them with the majority of the company. It’s refreshing and damn inspiring to see this kind of transformation successfully put into action. Gary goes on to explain how he has always seen Black Economic Empowerment as a positive and powerful tool within the industry. After all, the more diversity there is within a company, the more diverse voices are contributing, which can only lead to creating more relevant South African narratives. Can we get an Amen?!
Because of the plans Gary already started putting into place almost 20 years ago, he hasn’t had to avoid management transformation, but rather build toward it. Now that the time has come to reposition the power within the company, Gary feels inspired to promote managerial collaboration. Damn, we kind of want to start holding hands and sing kumbaya, but in a good way, like a really good way.