The man at the centre of the near-trebling of New Zealand apple and pear exports in less than a decade, and a dream to double that again over the next few years, is stepping down from the job at the end of this year.
New Zealand Apple and Pears chief executive Alan Pollard took up the job in Hastings in March 2013, when the industry was realising export earnings of about $340 million a year.
The following year it set a goal of increasing that to $1 billion by 2022, and having hit $920 million last year he's confident that target will have been reached, but for the wide-ranging impacts of the Covid-19 global pandemic, including labour shortages that have left a lot of fruit unable to be picked for the market.
"Obviously, we're not going to see that this year," he told Hawke's Bay Today, referring to last year's achievement.
"That's the reality, but it's certainly achievable. We've transformed the industry, all the building blocks are in place, and we've now got a target for $2 billion a year by 2030."
He said there is still a lot of under-utilised land in the wider East Coast region that could be prominent in achieving the goal, and the revolution has included development of new varieties with significantly higher yields per hectare.
Pollard hasn't mapped out his own future yet, saying the first goal is to help the transition to a new chief executive before starting to look for his own future opportunities.
Announcing Pollard's departure later this year, NZAPI chairman Richard Punter said the search for a successor will start "shortly".
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"As NZAPI defines what business as usual might look like post-Covid, Alan feels that this is the right time for a new leader to bring their own skills, experience and style to the organisation," Punter said.
"We are deeply appreciative of the contribution that Alan has made to the successful growth of the industry and the grower organisation," he said.
Pollard said: "I am immensely proud of the work that the NZAPI team has done, especially over the past 15 months to support the industry in unprecedented times. NZAPI is acknowledged as a high-performing and influential industry organisation, and I have enjoyed every bit of what has been (collectively) achieved."
"During a transition period I will be ensuring a smooth handover to my successor as well as continuing to progress some key projects, including pursuing an agreement with government regarding the bringing in and repatriation of RSE workers," he said. "Beyond that, I look forward to identifying and pursuing my next opportunity."