Zespri CEO Dan Mathieson will leave Zespri to take up a new position as president of the Americas for global berry company Driscoll’s.
Dan has been at Zespri for 21 years, almost seven of those as CEO and will remain at Zespri to oversee the 2024 harvest and start of the sales season and until a new CEO is appointed, with the industry poised to deliver one of its largest-ever crops to meet growing demand for Zespri Kiwifruit around the world.
Zespri chairman Bruce Cameron says Dan leaves as a world-class CEO who has helped turn Zespri into a leading sales and marketing company and with the industry well positioned to continue to succeed.
“Under Dan’s exceptional leadership Zespri grew sales from almost $2.3 billion in 2016/17 to a peak just over $4 billion in 2021/22 prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, with that growth set to continue in the coming years. Through that time he demonstrated his ability to bring talented people together, to set and execute strategy and ultimately to deliver great outcomes for the industry.
“Dan leaves the company in a strong position to build on the industry’s success, with strong and stable management and a clear strategy the team is committed to executing well. I’m excited about the future and know we have the right people to continue to create value for our growers and partners and we know Dan will have great success in his new role.”
Dan says it’s a difficult decision to leave but does so confident the industry is well positioned, while also excited by the personal challenge ahead.
“I’m so passionate about this industry. It’s filled with incredible, deeply committed people providing a world-class product and its future is so bright. We’ve had an industry-wide focus on addressing the quality challenges imposed by Covid restrictions and on delivering the premium-quality product we’re known for and we’ve seen the results of that this season.
“We know demand is growing strongly and with what has so far been a good growing season, we’re focused on delivering a large, great-tasting and high-quality crop to our customers and consumers and delivering great value back to our growers and partners.
“While I remain focused on the upcoming season, I’m really proud of what the industry is achieving. The industry has a track record of making bold, forward-thinking decisions which have added strong and sustainable value for growers and communities where we operate.
“I’m most proud of the people at Zespri and their commitment to delivering for our growers and partners. We’ve built a terrific culture which can bring the best out of the best people to drive Zespri forward.
“There will be new challenges ahead, but with an outstanding team of people, a clear strategy, and strong investment in innovation, I know Zespri will continue to be an increasingly strong force in the healthy food space.”
The Board will carry out an executive search for Dan Mathieson’s replacement to take Zespri and the industry forward.