Driving a company’s share price from 56¢ to $3.40 in just over three years is a long way from being a member of a yoga cult in the 1970s. But that’s the journey undertaken by Michael Sherlock as he transformed leading Australian and New Zealand bakery franchise Brumby’s into an Australian business success story.
The son of a carpenter and train driver, Michael was born in 1951 and attended Monash University in the early 70s as part of the bonded teacher program. During those university days, he became involved with a health and education foundation lead by a yoga-teaching Indian guru. After travelling the world backpacking for four years, he returned to Australia and joined up with the yoga foundation which had set up an old style bakery shop in a Melbourne suburb.
The foundation, including Michael, eventually moved to Warwick in South East Queensland in 1981 to form an alternative lifestyle community based on yoga principles. Michael initially purchased a fruit shop that was later converted to one of the group’s bakeries now named Brumby’s. However, after initially growing rapidly to more than 100 stores, the foundation went into receivership with few believing the bakeries could survive.
Having faith in the future of the Brumby’s concept, Michael worked to put together a consortium of franchisees, management and a supplier to purchase the bakery chain from the ruins of the foundation. This is where the remarkable story of Brumby’s resurrection begins. At this stage, Brumby’s shares had a par value of 1c each. But under Michael’s leadership, initially as director responsible for franchise recruitment and site identification and later as CEO, Brumby’s under went an incredible transformation.
From a financial basket case of 138 stores in danger of collapse, Brumby’s emerged as a highly regarded franchise system with 320 bakeries including the new concept stores, Brumby’s Go! In 2007 the ASX-listed Retail Food Group made an unconditional offer of $3.40 for each Brumby’s share. That was more than six times the 56¢ price Brumby’s had debuted at on the Bendigo Stock Exchange in late 2003.
Michael has appeared on television programs and featured in articles in newspapers and magazines in Australia and New Zealand on issues such as his innovative management techniques and business strategy. He’s also a highly appreciated keynote speaker at conferences where the audience enjoy his practical hands on approach combining theory with real life experiences.
He lives in Brisbane with his wife Jenny and has four children.
Michael is married to Jenny, has two adult children Justin and Tim and two younger children Adam and Estella. Michael lives in Brisbane. His interests include family, friends, travel (his aim is to keep his countries visited ahead of his age), AFL, Music, cricket, reading and wine collection.
Michael has a Bachelor of Economics from Monash University and a Diploma of Education from La Trobe University.
- Implemented Growth Strategy in a competitive market
- Drove shareholder value from $6m to $46m in 3 years
- MD/CEO of Brumby’s Bakeries from 1999-2007 and lead a successful turnaround strategy
- Drove Brumby’s brand image and brand awareness through high profile positioning in the media