Succession is a Marathon, Not a Sprint [Rob Di Martino]

No matter the business or company, leadership transitions are inevitable; either involuntarily or voluntarily. However, success planning, done correctly, ensures a smooth transition and is a crucial aspect of maintaining and preserving the legacy of business throughout this period.

For this week’s guest, Rob Di Martino, that succession plan is a gradual process that strongly relies on trust and support. Especially, as Rob says, because it is playing out during one of the toughest times to be a Director of a company, in a state that has experienced the longest lockdown in the world.

Rob Di Martino has been in the food service industry for 37 years. He is a director and partner of Del Re National food group alongside his cousins, Mark, Rick and Danny. Del Re National is a broad range foodservice distributor that services metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

So how do you pass the baton to ensure a level of continuity in the business?

“The foodservice industry – from suppliers to distributors to customers –  is very much relationship-based,” Rob explains.

It’s all about trust.

On one hand, there has to be TRUST from suppliers and customers that they will continue to get the same level of diligence and quality out of Del Re National. On the other hand, Rob has to have trust in the next generation of leadership in order for him to relinquish responsibility and duty.

There are four partners of Del Re National Food Group and this requires four individual succession plans, one for each partner. While other partners have already transitioned out of operational roles, Rob and Mark are slowly working towards the next phase of their careers.

“We’re fortunate we have the next generation coming through who have that passion and drive to continue the business,” admits Rob “and we have an independent Chairman… who acts as a conduit between ourselves and our kids who happen to be in the senior leadership team.”

Rob’s succession plan allows him to work a four-day week and have a day off every week to focus on, arguably, the more important things in life: spending quality time with his grandchildren and playing golf.

“We did it over a gradual process and we’ve done it over the last two years, but we’re very fortunate that, like on days like today, that I can go away and things are continuing”

Rob was kind enough to sit down with us for It’s Never About Money on his day off. I have no doubt that he spent the rest of the day chasing his grandkids (or chasing the elusive hole-in-one) satisfied with the knowledge that Del Re National will run smoothly in his absence.

His succession plan is working.

Listen to our full conversation with Rob Di Martino on Episode 22 of It’s Never About Money.

Connect on Rob on LinkedIn:

Del Re National website:

Subscribe now

Follow us on social media