What's Santa bringing the CEO?

They have money, power, influence and usually a big house near a picturesque body of water. But even wealthy business leaders still look forward to a visit from the man in red on Christmas morning.

So with Santa firmly on the payroll, we asked the finalists from this year's inaugural CEO and Executive of the Year Awards how they typically spend Christmas and what gift they would like to find under the tree on December 25.

Radek Sali - CEO, Swisse

Swisse CEO Radek Sali wants a pair of socks for Christmas, not singer Delta Goodrem.
Swisse CEO Radek Sali wants a pair of socks for Christmas, not singer Delta Goodrem. 

Sali usually celebrates Christmas with his parents, family and close friends. Having a Czech mother, he follows the eastern European tradition of opening gifts after dinner on Christmas Eve. "I was always ahead of the other kids in the neighbourhood," he laughs. "But as I have an English wife, I open the presents from her on Christmas morning. We generally do that at our beach house in Portsea."

Under the tree? "If Santa is good to me, I'd love another pair of Happy Socks. They are very bright and colourful and so much nicer than boring black. They really put a smile on your face."

Charles Mobrici - CFO, Set Logistics

Mobrici is simply looking forward to getting his family together for Christmas. "I have three grown-up boys all enjoying their separate lives, so at Christmas it's nice for us to gather for lunch or dinner," he says. "Being from Italian heritage I do keep certain traditions alive. For instance, we have a panettone with Christmas dinner. I even give a few away to my staff."

Under the tree? "I have everything I need. If I get a hug from my three boys that will be enough of a gift."

David Stewart - MD and CEO, NetComm Wireless

Two out of every three Christmases, Stewart flies his family and friends to Canada to ski. This will be one of those years. "I'm looking forward to a white Christmas," he says.

Under the tree? "My wife is getting me some new skis for down-hilling."

Nigel Clarke - MD, Momentum Energy

Clarke will spend Christmas with his wife and three children in their home at Barwon Heads. "I'm pretty proficient in the kitchen, so I'll cook the turkey and coordinate the lunch," he says. "I'm looking forward to a relaxing holiday by the beach."

Under the tree? "I'm hoping for a new chipper to go with my golf set, because I end up in the sand bunker now and then."

John Winning - CEO, The Winning Group

Last year Winning spent Christmas Day in the office cooking lunch for his staff. Then he caught a seaplane up to Pearl Beach on the NSW Central Coast to have dinner with his family. However, the usual tradition is to have dinner with family and friends at Vaucluse.

Under the tree? "Given the fact I'm renovating my new place in Surry Hills, I'd love a Sub-Zero fridge for the kitchen. They are seriously cool fridges; big and industrial looking. Failing that I'll be happy with a Curb your Enthusiasm DVD."

Scott Meneilly - CEO, Boost Juice

For Meneilly a typical Christmas is being surrounded by kids. "I spend time with my own three children and all the nieces and nephews gathered around," he says. "We have lunch at my Mum's bayside house and then head down to the beach house at Mount Martha."

Under the tree? "I'd love something a bit daring such as a three-day survival course on a desert island, anything extreme that I haven't done before. But I'll probably end up with something like a remote-controlled helicopter that the kids will want to steal from me."

Darren Wallis - CEO, GJ Gardner Homes

Wallis lives on the Sunshine Coast, so he enjoys kicking back at home on Christmas Day with "prawns and a few drinks", looking out over the water. "I have five kids so Christmas morning is pretty hectic, but lots of fun," he says. "This year will be a little different because we're heading to the US for a white Christmas, skiing in Denver, Colorado."

Under the tree? "Always new fishing gear. I'd love a new Shimano Stellar reel for sport fishing. And maybe a new leather briefcase by Pierre Cardin."