24 Nov 2017

Meet Zespri's new CEO

From Country Life, 9:14 pm on 24 November 2017

Zespri's new CEO Dan Mathieson likes eating green kiwifruit – as a kid he even ate the skin – and wears Raglan-made leather jandals on his days off.

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Photo: Zespri

Shorts and jandals go down well in the steamy climate of Singapore, where Dan lives.

In his fruit bowl these days there's more gold than green fruit because his wife and three children prefer it.

He took over as Zespri's chief executive in September and will stay living in Singapore, where he's been leading the company's global sales and marketing group.

It's a long commute to New Zealand but he says he'll be here as often as he's needed, which will be quite a bit. 

But he calls basing the job in Singapore "innovative" and something many New Zealand businesses could look at. "This is a real option to put your CEO offshore and have them very much focused on the demand side fo the business."

Zespri's revenue is $2.2 billion, and it has set a goal of $4.5 billion by 2025. It's a high goal to achieve, but Dan says demand is well ahead of supply because consumers are wanting to eat healthy food options and kiwifruit is one them.

There will, however, be a lot more competition in the kiwifruit selling space as new varieties from China and Italy are now reaching consumers. 

Italy has about three new varieties and China up to twenty, especially in the red and green area.

"One thing's for sure, it's going to be a much more competitive space in the fruit basket for kiwifruit than it was in the last ten years," he says.