After ten years in Zespri’s senior executive team, chief operating officer Simon Limmer is leaving to take on a new challenge as CEO of New Zealand’s biggest meat company Silver Fern Farms.
Limmer, 49, will take the reins of Silver Fern in March, a little over a year since China’s Shanghai Maling paid NZ$267m for a 50 per cent stake in the meat processor and marketer.
During his time with Zespri, Limmer has held several key positions. As well as his current role as COO, he was general manager of global supply where he helped to develop 12-month supply for Zespri, and general manager for grower and government relations.
Limmer was appointed general manager China in 2013/14 to lead and rebuild the Zespri business following a high-profile anti-smuggling case with China customs, according to Zespri chief executive officer Dan Mathieson. "Simon's work in China set the foundation for it to become Zespri’s largest global market by volume and value today," Mathieson noted.
Limmer also helped to guide Zespri through the Psa crisis, serving as a founding member of the Kiwifruit Vine Health board and helping to chart the industry recovery through the move from the Hort16A variety to Gold3.
“Simon’s calm, strategic contribution to Zespri and the New Zealand kiwifruit industry through some of its toughest times, as well as the challenge from Turners & Growers to the New Zealand kiwifruit regulations, has been invaluable,” said Mathieson. “I’d like to thank him for his strong contribution and commitment over the last ten years.”
With Limmer’s appointment to the helm of Silver Fern Farms, Mathieson said he was also delighted to see Zespri executives being recognised for their skills and experience at the highest levels.
“Like Zespri, Silver Fern Farms is a leading New Zealand food company with a revenue of NZ$2.5bn, and we wish Simon every success in this new and exciting role.”
In other executive news at Zespri, Ichiro Anzai’s role as Japan country manager has been expanded and he will now take on responsibility for the Korean market too. “Ichiro has delivered excellent growth in Japan over recent seasons and he will take over as general manager, Japan and Korea, from 11 December,” said Mathieson.
Meanwhile, the South East Asia and Australia (SEAA), and Middle East, India and Africa (MEIOA) market manager roles are being merged, with recruitment for a general manager covering all this regions under way.
Andrew Common and Candice Stuart will continue to lead the South East Asia and Australia regions respectively until the new position is filled, with Common leaving to take over as CEO of Freshmax New Zealand early next year.