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Leading lights – June 2013

Vice president and global head of iCargo sales, IBS Software Services

Equipped with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Aberdeen Technical College, Kidd started his career in 1966 with the Hall Russell & Co shipbuilders based in Aberdeen, Scotland. This was followed by a 10-year stint as a police officer from 1970 to 1980. In 1980, he joined Trans Australian Airlines, which was renamed Australian Airlines in 1986, and bought by Qantas as its domestic arm in 1996. Kidd gained valuable experience on various aspects of airline operations, and in particular cargo operations. He soon moved up to senior management level, where after a stint in sales and marketing, he headed the cargo division in Melbourne, becoming a key member of the senior management team that envisaged and proposed a joint venture between Australian Air Express (Qantas-owned) and Australia Post, combining their freight operations.


In 1991, Kidd became director freight automation at Unisys, heading the freight sales and marketing operations in the Asia-Pacific region. He was at Unisys for 10 years, where he carried out many consultation studies for airlines worldwide and worked closely with major freight forwarders on IT implementation.


During a sabbatical from the industry, Kidd moved to Kitgum, a village in the civil-war ravaged area of northern Uganda, where he set up an NGO and an orphanage for children afflicted with AIDS, and for those who had lost their parents in the conflict. Murray still runs and funds the orphanage that, at last count, had 130 children and seven staff. On returning to the industry, he joined IBS in 2004.


What is your earliest aviation memory?

I have many memories from the ‘70s, but a free flight from the now long-defunct Dan Air, from Aberdeen to Orkney, was memorable as it was my first – and it felt fabulous.


What attracted you to the air cargo industry?

In 1980 I emigrated to Australia, as one of the last ‘Ten Pound Poms’, and I joined TAA Trans Australia Airlines in Perth. It was all very glamorous in those days, even on the air cargo side. I remember thinking, ‘this is the life’, as I flew around Australia. After the honeymoon period, I found that the reason I loved the industry was the people with whom I did business on a day-to-day basis. They were intelligent, hardworking, and when you made friends with them, it lasted a lifetime. Much the same as happens today.


Would you choose the same industry again if you were starting out now?

I most definitely would. If only I knew then what I know now and could start again, life would be so much easier. In those days technology was limited, but funnily enough the mainly manual processes, apart from a Telex machine, seemed to be followed to the letter and were managed better. We have taken the simplicity out of ‘the way we were’. Although I must confess that my journey since then has been a wonderful experience, partaking in the growth of both the air cargo industry and the emergence of technology to drive that growth.


What drives you?

As simply as I can put it, winning and success are two of the biggest drivers I have. I am very competitive, but saying that, never in an unprofessional manner. I also have a thirst for knowledge.


What have been your proudest moments?

There are many, but the proudest and the most emotional was to be recognised by my peers, colleagues and friends in the industry for my contribution to charity, with my Bearcare Ugandan Orphanage, during the 2012 Word Cargo Symposium in Kuala Lumpur. It was the toughest yet proudest speech I have ever had to make.


And your greatest disappointments?

We all have disappointments which we learn to live with, but one that springs to mind is not being able to share more time with my grandfather, who died when I was in my early twenties – he was one of my best friends. It would have been nice to have him around a little while longer.


Who have been the greatest influences on your life?

My grandfather, who instilled some of the principles I hold dear to me, and someone who has mentored me over the years – Emmet Hobbs, ex-Australian Airlines, Qantas and Brambles. At the ripe old age of 70 years, he is still always at the end of the phone when required, and my dearest friend.

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