Michael McDowall takes on new role with John Carroll stepping down after 36 years with the company  


(l-r) John Carroll and Michael McDowall

Primor Produce has announced John Carroll is stepping down as chief executive effective 1 July, 2024. Michael McDowall, a fellow Primor director and manager of the company’s import and domestic business unit, will step in as the new chief executive.  

Carroll will remain a shareholder and executive director and will continue to be actively involved in the business, taking up a new role as general manager – avocados, with primary focus on governance and supply relationships associated with the Avoco joint venture in which Primor is a 50 per cent partner.   

As a founding shareholder and director since Primor Produce was established in July 1988, Carroll said he was very proud of the business growth and achievements over the past 36 years.  

“Primor is positioned to be an evergreen company providing stable future growth, profitability, and durability, working always in the interests of our suppliers, staff, shareholders and customers,” he said. 

“There is a shared commitment from fellow shareholders and directors, meaning these business principles will remain key drivers. And the fact that two of my sons are involved is satisfying.” 

Having reached 65 and with eight grandchildren in the family, Carroll said it was a good time to make a change and was delighted the board has selected McDowall for the chief executive role.  

McDowall has been with Primor since 1992, becoming a shareholder in 1999 and director since 2010. This change in leadership has been planned for some time, being part of Primor’s business transition plan designed to ensure a stable, seamless handover of responsibilities.  

McDowall takes on the chief executive role with substantial fresh produce experience, mostly in sales and supply chain management, developing broader company management responsibilities over time.  

“I love the business and our industry and am honoured to be appointed chief executive at this exciting time in our development,” McDowall said. 

“We are a company that has always had a strong leadership team and a reputation for honesty and integrity. Our people are our strength, and we have a high calibre experienced team that tend to stay with us. Having close relationships with long-term supply partners and key customers both in New Zealand and overseas is pivotal to our success.”