Kerridge, Robert James

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Sir Robert James Kerridge - Chevalier of the Order of Merit (Italy) CStJ

Robert Kerridge's business career began humbly but before he was 50 he owned and controlled the largest theatre-entertainment organisation in the southern hemisphere.

A consummate dealmaker, he reigned unrivalled in entertainment and cinema distribution.

Kerridge's real success came in the entertainment business when, in 1943, he gained a controlling interest in New Zealand Theatres. In 1946 he entered a partnership with J Arthur Rank Organisation to secure film distribution and by 1947, Kerridge had acquired the Fuller theatres and those of the J C Williamson group, giving him an unrivalled 130-theatre circuit.

Under his direction, the Kerridge Odeon group diversified into tourism, hotels, advertising, catering, publishing, recordings, merchandising, property and finance.