Mark O'Donnell Rockit crop

New Zealand-headquartered Rockit Global has announced the appointment of Mark O’Donnell as its new chief executive.

O’Donnell joins the company behind the miniature apple offering from House of Travel, where he has been chief executive.

John Loughlin, chair of Rockit Global, said O’Donnell brings significant experience to the role.

“Mark is an experienced chief executive with a strong background and a track record of achievement,” Loughlin said.

“He brings excellent leadership and commercial skills which will be critical as Rockit continues to grow at 30-40 per cent per annum on a compound basis.”

O’Donnell shared Loughlin’s excitement and said he is looking forward to working with the Rockit team when he begins in early January 2021.

“It’s really exciting to be joining a dynamic company with such an amazing product opportunity. I’m looking forward to leading a strong team and running a globally branded business that delivers value back to New Zealand,” O’Donnell said.

“Miniature apples will be a new challenge for me, but I will be working with a strong board and a team that has demonstrated an ability to win.”

O’Donnell joins on the back of a record year for Rockit with volumes and turnover up around 25 per cent. It developed over 150ha of new orchards in 2020, taking its total planted area to 480ha in New Zealand.

Rockit’s proprietary miniature apples are grown in New Zealand and eight other countries and they are now sold in 28 countries, with Kuwait and India opened as new markets this year.

In order to cater for rapidly increasing fruit volumes, in early 2021 Rockit is set to move into a new purpose-built, state-of-the-art coolstore and packhouse facility in Irongate, Hastings.