The Meat Industry Association (MIA) has appointed Sirma Karapeeva as its new chief executive, replacing Tim Ritchie, who is retiring after 12 years in the job.

Karapeeva, who is currently MIA's Trade and Economic Manager, has been with the trade association since 2015, having previously held a variety of trade, policy and regulatory roles at the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment and the former Ministry of Economic Development.

MIA chairman John Loughlin said Karapeeva had built up important relationships across government and the industry.

"This will be vital as we collaborate with others to advance the interests of the red meat sector and New Zealand's wider primary sector," he said in a statement.

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"Sirma has a strong understanding of the red meat sector's priorities and challenges, practical experience and understanding of the international trade environment, negotiations and agreements and expertise in policy development," he said.

Loughlin thanked Ritchie for his service to the meat processing and exporting industry.

Meat processing is the country's largest manufacturing industry and its second biggest export, after dairy.