Kiwifruit exporter Zespri has begun a succession process that will see long-serving chief executive Lain Jager step down at the beginning of 2018, the company announced today.

Chairman Peter McBride said the board was balancing continuity and renewal in the leadership of the organisation.

"The Zespri board has set out a process for succession at an optimal time," he said. "Zespri now has an experienced and stable management team in place and the board will consider both potential internal and external candidates for the position."

The time frame would help to ensure continuity through the transition, which was important given Zespri's critical role in the value chain for kiwifruit growers and customers globally, he said.


The board will begin the process next year. Mr Jager, who was appointed chief executive in 2008, will remain in the role until his successor starts. He first joined Zespri in 1999 as human resources manager.

Mr Jager said it had been a huge privilege to work as part of the industry leadership team and with Zespri employees and partners around the world.

"I am looking forward to supporting the succession process and helping the board in providing leadership continuity through this period. I also am excited about the 2017 season and look forward to my final year working with growers and Zespri partners globally."

Mr McBride said that during Mr Jager's tenure the industry had recovered well from Psa and Zespri had delivered success with the commercialisation of SunGold and expanded sales in both new and mature markets around the world. He noted his enormous contribution to the industry.

"Lain's record speaks for itself. He has helped the business manage the opportunities and challenges which come with growth. Global sales have nearly doubled during his tenure, and value created for growers and shareholders has increased strongly.

"Furthermore, Lain has provided strategic direction and overseen the development of Zespri's organisational culture. Under Lain's leadership, Zespri has strengthened our systems, policies and processes. The transition comes at a time of strong growth and significant opportunity for the industry."

Chief executive Lain Jager's previous roles at Zespri have included:
• HR Manager
• GM corporate strategy & HR
• GM for grower and government relations
• GM supply chain