Leading South African fruit grower and marketer announces its next leader, taking over from Pieter du Toit

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Dutoit Group, one of South Africa’s leading fruit and vegetable grower-marketers, has announced the appointment of Hennie du Toit as its new chief executive.

He will be taking over from Pieter du Toit, who recently retired as CEO of the Ceres-based group.

Hennie du Toit joined the Dutoit Group in 2011 and has been a director since 2015.

He is the son of legendary Ceres fruit grower Jan-Linde du Toit, who along with his brother Gys du Toit took over the family business from its founder Gysbertus du Toit, the man that started the family business in the Koue-Bokkeveld region of Ceres in 1893.

The group is celebrating its 130th year in fruit and vegetable farming this year.

The two senior Du Toit brothers, Gys and Pieter, have guided the group as third generation leaders over the past few decades, with Hennie du Toit representing the fourth generation.

The Dutoit Group owns fruit and vegetable farms in the Western and Eastern Cape and annually produces around 200,000 tonnes of fresh produce.

Its product range includes apples, pears, stonefruit and cherries, as well as vegetable such as potatoes, onions and sweet potatoes.

The group has also invested in modern fruit packing and fruit cooling facilities, logistical companies and cold store operations and plant breeding and research in fruit and vegetable farming.

Hennie du Toit said he was assuming his position at a time when the fresh produce industry faced several challenges, including some economic uncertainties, skill shortages and infrastructure challenges.

“Our group believes that with strong leadership and vision we will overcome these challenges,” he said. ”We have a strong foundation, rooted in the best traditions of fruit growing and marketing and believe we will continue to grow our activities in the long term. We will build on a culture of cooperation, respect, confidence, and excellence.”

The group had a strong client base and would continue to supply them with service and products of high quality, du Toit outlined.

He also paid tribute to the “groundbreaking” work of Pieter du Toit and Gys du Toit, who will remain directors to help guide the business into the future.