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Sunday, September 27th, 2020

Zespri's Dan Mathieson appointed kiwifruit body's new chief executive

by September 25, 2017 General

Long-serving Zespri executive Dan Mathieson has been appointed as the company’s new chief executive.

Mr Mathieson will take over the role immediately from former long-standing chief Lain Jager.

Zespri chairman Peter McBride said Mr Mathieson had an impressive track record over his 15 years with Zespri, with his most recent role as president of global sales and marketing.

“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.”


Mr McBride said as the leader of Zespri’s sales and marketing operations and offshore markets, Mr Mathieson had 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,” Mr McBride said.

Mr Mathieson was optimistic about Zespri’s future and excited about the opportunities ahead.

As the new chief executive, he was looking forward to helping continue the momentum of the business as it worked toward increasing global sales to $4.5 billion by 2025.

“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.

“Delivering Zespri’s strategy means an increasing focus on our international markets, as we continue to increase demand ahead of supply and expand our 12-month supply business.”

He would focus significantly on those elements and would base himself between Zespri’s head office in NZ and the sales and marketing hub in Singapore.

“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,” Mr Mathieson said.

“A strong and empowered New Zealand executive will also play a key role in maintaining these strong industry relationships.”

About half of Zespri’s nearly 500 staff were based offshore and Mr Mathieson welcomed the opportunity to lead the globalised team.

Mr McBride said there was an extraordinary opportunity ahead to grow year-round demand for Zespri kiwifruit, maximise the potential of SunGold worldwide 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.

“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.”

He said Zespri’s board of directors regarded Mr Mathieson’s exceptional international sales and marketing background, deep industry knowledge and his strong ability to lead diverse groups of people in his appointment to the role of chief executive.

Mr McBride also 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.”