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T&G kicks out CEO Geoff Hipkins

Following alleged bust-up in Berlin, Turners & Growers deputy chairman confirms boss has been given the boot

T&G kicks out CEO Geoff Hipkins
Geoff Hipkins joined T&G in April 2012

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New Zealand fresh produce company Turners & Growers has confirmed the departure of its chief executive Geoff Hipkins.

In a brief statement to the New Zealand Exchange, the company's deputy chairman Sir John Anderson confirmed that Hipkins had departed the group.

"Turners & Growers Limited advises that chief executive Geoff Hipkins has left its employment, with immediate effect," the statement read.

Anderson also added that, while the company sought a replacement CEO, it would be led jointly by current chief financial officer Harald Hamster-Egerer and by Alastair Hulbert, general manager for international markets.

Eurofruit understands that Anderson, with the backing of majority shareholder Baywa, has spent the past fortnight locked in detailed negotiations over the terms of Hipkins' release from his employment.

Hipkins, who joined T&G in April 2012, had a five-year contract with the group worth an estimated NZ$800,000 per annum.

As revealed by Eurofruit earlier this month, Hipkins' working relationship with the rest of the T&G board and management team was deemed to be irreparably damaged after an apparent altercation with a fellow member of staff during a recent visit to Berlin.

Rumours of Hipkins' supposed unpopularity with colleagues had been circulating for some time, however, although he had previously been able to retain the public support of his chairman, Klaus Josef Lutz.

Representatives from T&G and Baywa were not available for comment.

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