NZ: Dan Mathieson takes the helm as new Zespri CEO
Longstanding Zespri executive Dan Mathieson is now the kiwifruit company's CEO, taking over the role from former chief executive Lain Jager with immediate effect.
The Zespri board made the decision based on what chairman Peter McBride described as Mathieson's "impressive track record" over 15 years with the group, with his most recent role as president of global sales & marketing.
Mathieson, fluent in Japanese, has experience at the company across Asia, Europe and the Americas, and has been living in Singapore since 2015.
"I am confident he will lead Zespri well and deliver growth and increasing value for our industry and shareholders, building on the strong legacy that Lain Jager leaves behind," McBride said in a release.
"In his time leading our sales and marketing operations and offshore markets, Dan has successfully delivered a demand-led strategy, growing mature markets and diversifying into new markets.
"Our sales and marketing function has developed significantly under his leadership, with an increased focus on consumer insight, distributor and retailer relationships, and marketing excellence."
Mathieson said he was "tremendously optimistic" about Zespri's future and excited about the opportunities ahead.
"As chief executive I am looking forward to helping continue the momentum we have in our business as we work toward increasing global sales to NZD$4.5 billion (US$3.3 billion) by 2025," Mathieson said.
"The growing strength of our Zespri brand underpinned by an unrelenting focus on quality and our strong supplier and customer partnerships provides us with an outstanding opportunity to rapidly increase demand, increase supply and innovate to sustain and grow returns to growers and shareholders."
He said the company's strategy meant an increasing focus on international markets as the group continued to increase demand ahead of supply, expanding its 12-month supply business.
"As chief executive I will focus significantly on these elements so I will base myself between our head office in NZ and our sales and marketing hub in Singapore," he said.
"Our industry is the heart of everything we do and I realise the huge importance of working closely with New Zealand growers and industry leaders and I will spend substantial time at Zespri’s head office in Mount Maunganui.
"A strong and empowered New Zealand executive will also play a key role in maintaining these strong industry relationships."
Around half of Zespri’s nearly 500 staff are based offshore and Mathieson said he welcomed the opportunity to lead an increasingly globalized team.
McBride noted the extraordinary opportunity ahead to grow year-round demand for Zespri kiwifruit, maximize the potential of SunGold around the world and continue to grow the Zespri brand.
"Dan’s appointment is the logical evolution of Zespri’s strategy to grow market demand and create value for customers and consumers, along with growing sustainable returns for Zespri’s grower-shareholders," McBride said.
"This appointment reflects the development of Zespri and the industry over the last five years, along with the continuation of our strategy to market the world’s leading portfolio of kiwifruit 12 months of the year.
"The Board regarded Dan’s exceptional international sales and marketing background, together with deep knowledge of our industry and his strong ability to lead diverse groups of people in his appointment to the role of chief executive."
McBride acknowledged the "outstanding performance" of Lain Jager as chief executive for the past nine years.
"His record speaks for itself, managing the challenges and opportunities of growth with volumes doubling under his leadership, alongside growing value for growers and shareholders," McBride said.