Pipfruit NZ's new CEO aims to help growers beat competitors - FreshFruitPortal.com

Pipfruit NZ's new CEO aims to help growers beat competitors

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Pipfruit NZ's new CEO aims to help growers beat competitors

Pipfruit New Zealand's new chief executive officer faces some tough challenges ahead with a high exchange rate, difficult economic conditions in some markets, but also major growth prospects in Asia.

Allan Pollard has been spending the last three weeks immersing himself in the industry. Before succeeding Peter Beaven as the Pipfruit New Zealand helm in mid-March, Pollard was director of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce.

He comes from a chartered accounting background, having spent most of his career managing major law firms in Christchurch.

Pollard tells www.freshfruitportal.com he is still coming to grips with the industry, but has been very impressed so far.

Future Challenges

"I can see a very sophisticated industry. I hadn’t appreciated how much of a world leader it is. The use of technology has been quite an eye-opener."

Pollard brings a distinct change to the organization, which promotes and represents members of the New Zealand pipfruit industry, including growers, packers and marketers of apples and pears.

Despite Pollard’s lack of experience in horticulture, he says he has always had an eye on the industry because of its role in the New Zealand export market.

"It’s an industry that faces some pretty significant challenges, some of which we can control – such as negotiating market access or research and development programs – and some that we can’t control – like the climate, which has been an issue this year, and the exchange rate.

"So we’ve got some hugely challenging issues to face."

Smooth operator

Pipfruit New Zealand chairman Ian Palmer said in a press release that Pollard’s acumen and communication skills will "quickly become an asset to our industry".

"He is accustomed to dealing with government politicians and officials in a highly regulated environment, and will be an excellent advocate for apple and pear growers and exporters."

As he becomes more acquainted with the pipfruit industry in the coming months, his approach will also be to re-evaluate existing arrangements based on member feedback.

"I’m taking a fairly commercial approach to this. Because I don’t have a fruit industry background I can look at everything we do and ask why and put a bit of a commercial ruler across it."

Pollard has worked closely with former CEO Beaven in the past month as he gets to know the Pipfruit New Zealand team and gauges feedback on issues members are facing.

"From an operational sense it’s also been getting to know the process, from the time it leaves the orchard, and getting to know our markets."

Some industry members have told Pollard to focus on market access and better communication.

Getting Noticed

"We’ve got to make sure we differentiate from our competitors to where we’re delivering in those markets, and do it without burdening our industry with significant compliance issues and compliance costs," he says.

Though Pollard has taken a humble entrance to the industry, he says he is not afraid to challenge and question.

"You need to do that because that’s part of our role.

"Clearly we need to make sure we’re continually adding value to our members and trying to make the industry as efficient and as receptive as we can to their needs."

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Pipfruit NZ forecasts growth in India, Australia this year

Photo: Goodfruit.com

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