AUCKLAND, New Zealand--()--The Board of Turners and Growers Limited (T&G) is pleased to announce changes to the Board of Directors and the appointments of a Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
The Board has confirmed the previously announced intended appointments of BayWa representatives Klaus Josef Lutz and Andreas Helber as Directors and Mr Lutz as Chairman. In addition, Sir John Anderson and John Wilson have joined the Board as independent Directors.
“Sir John brings a wealth of experience to the T&G Board from a long career in banking, as an advisor to governments, chairman of PGG Wrightson Limited and Chairman and Director of a number of other publicly listed companies and public sector entities,” Mr Lutz said.
“We are also pleased that Mr Wilson, a Fonterra director, Nuffield scholar and dairy farmer will be able to contribute his expertise in corporate governance and agri-business. Mr Wilson is committed to producer co-operatives and therefore will bring new insights to our grower relationships.”
Following today’s appointments to the T&G Board and the resignations from the Board of Jeff Wesley, Brian D’Ath and Christina Symmans on 7 March 2012, the Board of T&G now comprises Klaus Lutz (Chairman), Andreas Helber, Carol Campbell (independent director), Rob Campbell (independent director), Michael Dossor, Sir John Anderson (independent director) and John Wilson (independent director). The Board has determined that Sir John Anderson and John Wilson are both independent directors for the purposes of the NZSX listing rules and that Klaus Lutz and Andreas Helber are not independent directors (given that they are BayWa representatives).
The Board has also today announced senior management appointments of Geoff Hipkins as Chief Executive, Harald Hamster-Egerer as Chief Financial Officer and Dr Philipp Wahl as Chief Operating Officer.
“Mr Hipkins brings a depth of experience from growth and restructuring roles over the last two decades in New Zealand’s primary export sector,” Mr Lutz said.
“The Board looks forward to working with Mr Hipkins as T&G expands further into Asia and consolidates its operations in Europe.”
Mr Hipkins will take up his appointment immediately.
Mr Harald Hamster-Egerer is currently Head of Corporate Controlling for Baywa responsible for all aspects of risk management, budgeting and compliance with IFRS. “Mr Hamster-Egerer is a highly regarded finance professional bringing a wealth of experience to Turners & Growers” added Mr Helber.
Dr Philipp Wahl is currently in charge of BayWa’s corporate business development division, which encompasses the strategy, organisational development and logistics departments. He has been with BayWa since 2009. “Mr Wahl is highly experienced in international logistics and supply-chain management and we are very happy to gain him as COO,” added Mr Lutz.
The Board thanks retiring Managing Director Jeff Wesley and departing Chief Financial Officer Paul Alston for their contribution in building T&G into the global business it has become, with the potential to become a world class distributor of fresh produce.
The Board has today resolved to commence a review of all T&G operations, to be conducted by senior management. The optimisation review will identify areas for potential improvement with regards to T&G’s operational performance, including direct benefits to growers, the streamlining of operations, an increased focus on Asian markets and coordination with BayWa’s European distribution network.
“BayWa is willing to make available its supply chain expertise if that can bring significant benefits to T&G’s logistical and distributional functions. BayWa’s experience in working in partnership with apple growers in Southern Germany may be particularly relevant to achieving sustainable returns for growers of New Zealand’s premium apple varieties,” Mr Lutz said.
“We believe that New Zealand is well placed to develop and produce apples to satisfy Asian demand. We see an excellent future for the industry given the efficiencies that can be achieved from consolidating distribution and logistics and working in closer partnership with growers.”
“The coordination of T&G’s European operations with BayWa’s distribution network may create additional high value markets for New Zealand grown lemons, blueberries and other fresh produce.”
“The T&G Board believes that T&G’s future success will depend on grower returns improving and strengthening the relationships T&G already has with growers in order to meet consumer demand for high quality fresh produce while operating with the appropriate structures already in place.”
Results of the optimisation review will be progressively implemented by T&G.
Meetings with growers later this year will detail the changes and the opportunities identified for further export growth of New Zealand’s high quality produce.