Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler has resigned after almost seven years to take over as head of Frucor beverages.

Tourism New Zealand chairwoman Kerry Prendergast said he will leave at the end of October.

Prendergast said Bowler had transformed Tourism New Zealand into a high performing, digital-led, integrated marketing communications business with a clear mission.

"During his tenure, Kevin has reinvigorated the way the country is marketed, narrowing the organisation's focus to people already 'actively considering' New Zealand and delivering significant value to the economy through the use of targeted digital media channels," she said.


There had been "extraordinary growth" in tourism with visitor spend rising 25 per cent to $10.2b in the past 12 months alone.

Before joining Tourism NZ Bowler was CEO of Yahoo! And before that General Manager Consumer Marketing for Telecom.

Bowler joined the organisation in January 2010 when the travel industry was still in recovery after the global financial crisis, which damaged traditional British and US markets. The Christchurch earthquakes and then the Japanese disaster in 2011 also hurt the market.

Prendergast said his time at Tourism NZ had been marked by the "remarkable success" of leveraging international attention gained from the Rugby World Cup and The Hobbit films;using international ambassadors for promotion; expansion into new markets and sectors, and significant partnerships with aviation and digital media partners.

Tourism NZ has just harnessed Hollywood movie maker James Cameron as the latest in a line of influencers who have thrown their voice behind the 100% Pure New Zealand campaign.

Bowler said he was particularly attracted to Frucor because of its strong focus on providing positive choice for consumers.

"I'm looking forward to joining a business with such iconic brands as V, Fresh Up, Just Juice, Pepsi and Gatorade. I'm excited about being a part of a business focused on leading positive change in the beverages industry, helping consumers to make better choices about the beverages they choose.'"

He begins his new role in early November.