Ex-Rivkin executive makes base here

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Andrew Martin and Beth Joscelyne, Australian ski fans newly settled in Queenstown, illustrate how the internet enables the resort to be a base for international marketing.

The couple run sales and marketing for a Sydney motivational and training firm that distributes its video by internet.

Martin is a veteran of the Rene Rivkin organisation, which provided enough scandal and drama to inspire a Shakespeare play.

Martin and Joscelyne, familiar with Queenstown and the skifields of North America, moved to the resort in December.

They target “anyone in sales” for Dean Mannix’s SalesITV. Mannix runs seminars in Australia and other countries but now has four staff in Sydney producing videos, 15-30 minutes long.

Customers pay $A1000 ($NZ1250) a year membership and gain access to the video library. The Sydney staff add a new video a week.

A demo video can be seen by registering at http://adviserpreso.salesitv.com.

It took 18 months to ready the business for launch three months ago. While Martin and Joscelyne handle all marketing, Sydney handles subscriptions.

Joscelyne is a former account manager at ING Australia. Martin graduated in hotel management in Queensland, with practical experience at Port Douglas.

He worked in marketing for P&O before joining the Rivkin Report.

He was sales manager of the Sydney financial newsletter for seven years from 1998. Circulation reached 60,000 and the $A800 subscription brought in

$A48 million a year.

“I was there through the ups and downs,” says Martin.

The newsletter, now published by Rene Rivkin’s sons, then had a staff of around 30. Martin headed 20 in sales.

The flamboyant Rivkin committed suicide on May 1, 2005. This followed weekend detention for securities law breaches. He suffered from bipolar disorder.

One of the great high-fliers in an age of market extravagance, Rivkin tangled with Australia’s Securities & Investment Commission.

Swiss authorities also accused him of illegally using his father’s Swiss bank account to guarantee his own, and of using it to invest secretly in Offset Alpine Printing in Australia. Shares in Offset Alpine soared after a mysterious fire at the printing plant on Christmas Eve 1993 triggered a $A52m insurance payout.

The Rivkin drama continues. Nine weeks ago his chauffeur, Gordon Wood, was found guilty of murdering Wood’s girlfriend Caroline Byrne in June 1995.

Wood and Rivkin were examined by the then Australian Securities Commission about Offset Alpine the day before Byrne was murdered.

One motive postulated for killing Byrne was that she “knew too much” about Rivkin’s business affairs.

Rivkin told Swiss interrogators that former Australian Cabinet Minister Graham Richardson and businessman Trevor Kennedy were partners with him in a secret $A27m stake in Offset Alpine, through a Swiss bank.

Richardson, Rivkin’s best friend and his link to Labor power brokers, four months ago agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to end his $A2.3m dispute with the Australian Tax Office over the stake.

Martin recalls Rivkin not liking weekends because financial markets were closed.

He says Rivkin wrote most of the newsletter himself.

Martin says of Rivkin’s suicide: “He couldn’t deal with the embarrassment he put his family through. He’s got five lovely kids.”

Neill Birss will chase up your biz tips: neillb@maxnet.co.nz