Zespri International chairman Peter McBride will step down from his position in February next year, the global kiwifruit marketer announced today (31 October). In July 2019 he will subsequently retire from his role as director.
McBride, who’s been chairman since 2013, will pass on the role to deputy chairman Bruce Cameron. Cameron has been a director of Zespri since 2010 and is a long-time grower of kiwifruit.
McBride’s retirement will end a 16-year period of decision-making at Zespri; since 2002 he has helped see the company through many periods of change.
As chairman, McBride was involved in the industry’s return to growth following a major Psa outbreak; has overseen the company’s expansion of its SunGold variety; and completed a targeted share offer and buy back, as part of Zespri’s constitutional change, finalised this month.
“Peter has been an outstanding Chairman for Zespri and a leader in the kiwifruit industry,” said Zespri director Jonathan Mason.
“Among his achievements as both Chairman and director was his leadership in supporting the industry’s recovery from the serious challenge of Psa – communicating and listening to growers and developing the response. He then saw through the execution of our product and market strategy, in response to Psa, with the expansion of SunGold, and strong sustainable performance for Green contributing to record returns for the industry.”
Zespri said in a statement that McBride’s tenure as Chairman from 2013 has seen paralleled growth in average per hectare returns across all kiwifruit varieties of 55 per cent, and growth in the share price from 50 cents in March 2013 to over US$8 a share.
“Our kiwifruit industry has stepped through a number of challenges, but we have demonstrated time and time again the cohesiveness of our industry and our ability to act in its common interest,” said McBride.
“I have been in a fortunate position to see through significant changes and as a kiwifruit grower I am looking forward to Zespri’s continued success as it transforms to serve more and more customers around the world.”
Mason said McBride “leaves behind a strong legacy”.