Mathieson ends 21-year stint at Zespri as he resigns to take up role as president of the Americas at Driscoll’s

Zespri has announced that its CEO Dan Mathieson is to leave the kiwifruit leader and take up a new position as president of the Americas for global berry company Driscoll’s.

Zespri CEO Dan Mathieson

Dan Mathieson

Mathieson has been at Zespri for 21 years, almost seven of those as chief executive, and will remain at the New Zealand-based group to oversee the 2024 harvest and start of the sales season and until a new CEO is appointed,

Zespri chairman Bruce Cameron said Mathieson left as ”a world-class CEO”, who had helped turn Zespri into a leading sales and marketing company and with the industry well positioned to continue to succeed.

“Under Dan’s exceptional leadership Zespri grew sales from almost $2.3bn in 2016/17 to a peak just over $4bn in 2021/22 prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, with that growth set to continue in the coming years,” said Cameron.

”Through that time he demonstrated his ability to bring talented people together, to set and execute strategy and ultimately to deliver great outcomes for the industry.

“Dan leaves the company in a strong position to build on the industry’s success, with strong and stable management and a clear strategy the team is committed to executing well,” he outlined.

”I’m excited about the future and know we have the right people to continue to create value for our growers and partners and we know Dan will have great success in his new role.”

Mathieson said it was a ”difficult decision” to leave, but commented that he was confident the industry was well positioned, while he was also excited by the personal challenge ahead.

“I’m so passionate about this industry,” he said. ”It’s filled with incredible, deeply committed people providing a world-class product and its future is so bright.

”We’ve had an industry-wide focus on addressing the quality challenges imposed by Covid restrictions and on delivering the premium-quality product we’re known for and we’ve seen the results of that this season.

“We know demand is growing strongly and with what has so far been a good growing season, we’re focused on delivering a large, great-tasting and high-quality crop to our customers and consumers and delivering great value back to our growers and partners,” Mathieson confirmed.

“While I remain focused on the upcoming season, I’m really proud of what the industry is achieving,” he said. ”The industry has a track record of making bold, forward-thinking decisions which have added strong and sustainable value for growers and communities where we operate.

“I’m most proud of the people at Zespri and their commitment to delivering for our growers and partners. We’ve built a terrific culture which can bring the best out of the best people to drive Zespri forward.

“There will be new challenges ahead, but with an outstanding team of people, a clear strategy, and strong investment in innovation, I know Zespri will continue to be an increasingly strong force in the healthy food space,” Mathieson added.

Zespri said that its board would carry out an executive search for Mathieson’s replacement to ”take Zespri and the industry forward”.