New Zespri chairman announced


A Tauranga orchardist heavily involved in the fight against Psa-V has been announced as the new chairman of Zespri.

The announcement, made today by Zespri board members, revealed Peter McBride as the company's new chairman-elect.

"The kiwifruit industry, with Zespri as its marketer, is one I have an enormous passion for. It is New Zealand's largest horticultural exporter and Zespri is one of the world's leading horticultural marketing companies,'' Mr McBride said.

"While the industry has had a very tough time from Psa _ and its impacts will continue to be felt for a number of years yet _ I believe we will overcome the disease.

"As Zespri chairman, I will be committed to doing all I can to navigate the industry through these current tough times and returning it to its long-term growth path.''

Mr McBride will replace current chairman John Loughlin when he steps down from the board early next year.

Mr McBride is one of five grower-directors on Zespri's eight-member board. He has been a Zespri director since 2002 and deputy chairman of the board since 2008.

Mr McBride has been a kiwifruit grower since 1989 and he and his family have invested in, and been committed to, the growth of the kiwifruit industry through their orchard holdings since 1979.

Beyond the kiwifruit industry, his career has also involved agribusiness development and management of apple and dairying enterprises.

Mr McBride is also the current chairman of Kiwifruit Vine Health, the pan-industry body established to manage the response to the kiwifruit vine-killing disease Psa-V.

Mr McBride will stand down from his role as KVH chairman prior to beginning as Zespri chairman.

He said Zespri's challenge was to return as much money to growers' pockets as possible, while ensuring the company retained the capability to take advantage of long-term growth opportunities as the industry overcomes Psa.

Outgoing chairman John Loughlin said Mr McBride was known for his industry leadership in innovation and plant breeding, as well as his work as a long-serving Zespri director.

"Peter's knowledge as a grower, his chairmanship of KVH and his business experience makes him the ideal person to lead Zespri through the significant challenge of Psa.

"I know that Peter will serve the industry well during his time as chairman,'' Mr Loughlin said.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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