April 2014

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24 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | April 2014 One-On-One Peter Blake – known affectionately as just "Pete" to his peers, colleagues and family – may be the president and CEO of the world's largest industrial auctioneer, but he is quick to point out that the success of Ritchie Bros. Auction- eers is because of the company's entire team. "It's never been about me or the company," Blake said. "It's very much a flat organization, and it's about getting things done. Nothing ever gets done without an amazing team. That has been the evolution of the organization." That's also how Blake wants everyone to remember him when he retires from Ritchie Bros. in May. "Everyone contrib- utes to the legacy of Ritchie Bros.," he said. "Hopefully that's how everyone will remember me. I'd like to be remembered as a good leader who took the time to listen. This is a skill that is less 'en vogue' these days." Despite leading a company that is worth close to $4 billion and overseeing a shareholder value increase of more than $1.2 billion, Blake doesn't just sit behind a desk. He is a leader, but he's also a roll-up-the-sleeves kind of guy who likes to be part of the action of the high-paced auction environment. Although surprising to some, it's not uncom- mon to see Blake taking bids on the auction ramp. Blake recently took some time away from the auction scene to talk with Construction Equipment Distribution for a Q&A about his plans for the future, a look back at his tenure with the company, and some reflection on the used equip- ment/auction industry now and down the road. What would you like your "legacy" to be at Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers? In addition to being remembered as a good listener and team player, Blake says as CEO, he wants to leave the organization better than when he joined it and hopes that this is the sentiment. "I've been part of the company for 23 years, the last 10 as CEO," Blake said. "I started as CEO at age 42 when I inherited the organization from our founder. It has grown as we have managed and worked our way through the world." The company was achieving $500 million to $600 million in sales when Blake took over, a significant difference from the $3 billion to $4 billion Ritchie Bros. does in sales now. On the Ramp with Ritchie Bros.' Peter Blake (continued on page 26) To succeed as a leader, the retiring head of the world's largest auctioneer says you just have to listen, hire people smarter than you and follow the rules and principles you learned in kindergarten. By Tina Grady BarBaccia Catching bids on the ramp at RBA's Bejing auction last spring, Pete Blake is a roll-up- your-sleeves type of leader who likes to be right in the middle of the auction action. 24_Peter_Blake_Feature_KP.indd 24 3/27/14 4:27 PM

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