Bradley Gannon is immensely proud of the work of Australasia’s largest automotive cooperative
Bradley Gannon became the Chief Executive Officer, Automotive of Capricorn in 2019, continuing a stellar 14-year career with Australasia’s largest automotive aftermarket and business essentials buying group.
The Perth born and raised executive started thinking about his career direction at the age of 15 as a process of elimination.
He was interested in business and the law, while also loving the engineering aspect of cars and the freedom that comes with them.
“My first job was as a car park attendant. It was a great job, there were so many different aspects to it, including a mechanical one. I cannot tell you the number of cars I helped get re-started after flat batteries. I was pretty good at the old push start too…that is showing my age!” Bradley said.
“My first job was part time while I was studying. I did a double degree at Uni, a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Law. I never felt my Bachelor of Law was truly complete until I did my articles with a law firm and was admitted. I was then recognised as a Barrister and Solicitor for the Supreme Court of Western Australia and the High Court of Australia.
“I worked in a law firm for ten years and went from articled clerk all the way to partner in that time. Every day was very different, and I learned so much about people, business, commercial acumen, how to influence, how to present and the ability to identify problems and solutions.
“It gave me readily transferable skills to other roles and occupations which I could apply broadly.”
After a decade working in a law firm, Bradley was ready for a change, and he took on a role as the in-house company lawyer as Company Secretary/General Counsel with Capricorn where he established the legal function within Capricorn and applicable legal frameworks.
“From there I moved onto broader business roles within Capricorn including risk advisory, internal audit, operational functions and group marketing, before in 2019 I was appointed to my current role of Chief Executive Officer, Automotive – leading sales, supply, customer service and product development across Australia and New Zealand.”
Looking back over his career so far, Bradley summarises his main attributes as being the four Cs: Creativity, Critical thinking and problem solving, Collaboration and Communication.
“Attitude is just so important. It comes out in literally everything you do,” Bradley said.
“Believe in yourself. Seek feedback and advice along the way and learn from everyone. Literally everyone has something to teach you to help you improve both personally and professionally.
“With the right determination, attitude and growth mindset, I still believe that people can get anywhere they want and achieve whatever they want. This is the great thing about the automotive aftermarket industry and its continual growth.”
The Capricorn Society was established in 1974 by a small group of Western Australian Golden Fleece service station owners who wanted to improve their businesses, have more time for themselves and their families and offer a better service to their customers. That “strength in numbers” and “coming together for the greater good” attitude has stuck with Capricorn for almost five decades.
The original concept struck a chord with the industry: a cooperative business that the Members own, whose sole purpose is to make running your automotive business easier and much more rewarding. While it started out in Western Australia, it has since expanded across all of Australia and New Zealand.
“At Capricorn, we have a strong focus on giving back to our Members. Their membership is the other business that they also own, and it helps them each and every day,” Bradley said.
“I am really proud of all the work that we have done on our Rewards Program over the journey and the decisions that we have made which have increased the earn rate for our Members and the options they have to spend those Rewards points. In FY21 we paid out over $50 million in Reward points to our Members.”
Today, Capricorn has over 25,000 Members and more than 2,000 Preferred Suppliers in Australia and New Zealand across the automotive and allied industries. All Members are the owners and the shareholders.
“For me, the voice of the customer or in our case, the Members, is absolutely critical to any business and its ongoing success. We certainly try to embed that voice in absolutely everything that we do, every decision we make and how we represent ourselves to the outside world,” Bradley said.
“Everything Capricorn does and everything it earns is all about returning value and promoting an ongoing vibrant and sustainable automotive industry. We truly believe that all Members, Preferred Suppliers and partners are stronger with Capricorn. In fact, in 2021 alone Capricorn returned $92 million in pre-tax value to Members.”
Capricorn’s Members have successful businesses located in Australia and New Zealand across all automotive and allied industries including mechanical, panel, commercial, tyre, auto electrical and other industry specialisations. Capricorn is continuing to grow and last financial year it welcomed over 2,600 new Members.
“We understand to have a great Member experience we need to have a great employee experience. So, in everything we do, we strive to provide our teams with the right tools, equipment and support so they can do their jobs effectively and efficiently,” Bradley said.
“Members and Preferred Suppliers are at the very core of what we do, and we have a strong focus on understanding their needs, while being as efficient and effective as possible in our operations. We also have an eye to the future so we can continue to adapt and make a difference.
“Being based on the principles of cooperation and having been established as a cooperative, this is in our DNA. It impacts every part of our business, the way we operate, our culture, the people we recruit, retain and reward – even how we approach our Members and our Preferred Supplier partners.
“We are looking for long term mutually sustainable benefit for everyone and firmly believe that by working together we can achieve so much more than by acting alone.”
Bradley says Capricorn’s biggest challenges relate to delivering on the company’s promise and commitment to improve the lives of Members by supporting them in building stronger businesses.
“In everything we do we are looking to meet that challenge and make sure what we do and how we spend our limited resources is making a difference. A Capricorn membership has to be valuable for all involved. This is what drives us forward, what we measure and what we consistently work on,” he said.
“For the future we want to continue to build on our existing pillars of convenience, simplicity, ease of use and reward so that membership of Capricorn is compelling for both Members and our Preferred Supplier partners.
“We want to continue to expand our Member base in those automotive and allied industries for the benefit of individual Members, the collective Membership, our Preferred Supplier partners and Capricorn as a whole.
“We genuinely believe that we can continue to add value and truly mean it when we say everyone is ‘Stronger with Capricorn’ as we continue to execute our current plans.
“We are extremely proud that just by making the decision to join Capricorn and use our services, our Members are better off.
“The biggest regret we hear from Members is that they did not join Capricorn earlier, so a big part of my role is getting out the word about Capricorn to save this regret. It would be great to think that reading this article helped another automotive business make the fantastic decision to join Capricorn.”
Capricorn has been a member of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association for many years.
“Our company is a member of the AAAA for a range of reasons. Being a part of the industry’s peak body shows our support and commitment to the industry at large and the great work that the AAAA does in supporting our industry,” Bradley said.
“Just like the AAAA, Capricorn was born from the industry to support the industry and both organisations want to make a difference to their members.
“Being an AAAA member also gives us the opportunity to collaborate and support each other to ensure every business in our industry and every Capricorn Member is getting the best possible benefit of the blood, sweat and tears that they put into their businesses each and every day.”
Away from work, Bradley is keen on ball sports, especially football, tennis and, basketball. He points out that being active in sports helps with his next passion of eating too much! Bradley is also keen on truly relaxing by watching good movies and spending time with family and friends.
“Above all, family means everything to me. My beautiful wife, Linda, my son, Brendan, and my daughter, Jessica. We are very tight-knit and enjoy each other’s company. We have a lot of laughs, and we are very supportive of one another,” Bradley said.
“We always talk about doing the right thing, working hard and helping others. These were the values passed down to my wife and myself from our parents and something we want to pay forward to help make the world a better place.
“I had a great childhood with loving parents and two older brothers, and we always pushed each other on to be successful.”
To learn more about Capricorn, visit www.capricorn.coop