Board appoints Peter Springford as independent director

Press Release – Zespri

The Zespri Board has appointed Peter Springford as an independent director, replacing long-serving director David Pilkington.MEDIA RELEASE: 27 January 2017

Zespri Board appoints Peter Springford as independent director

The Zespri Board has appointed Peter Springford as an independent director, replacing long-serving director David Pilkington.

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride said the Board sought a candidate with a strong mix of business leadership and corporate governance experience, as well as exposure to the Asian business environment.

“Peter has an extensive business track record in managing companies in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, including five years in Hong Kong as President of International Paper (Asia) Limited and four years as Chief Executive Officer of Carter Holt Harvey.

“He also has significant corporate governance experience as a previous director of the New Zealand Refining Company, previous Chairman of Nuplex Industries and now on the board of Infratil. We are pleased to have appointed someone of Peter’s calibre.”

Mr Springford says he is excited to join Zespri’s Board as the company continues its strong growth. “Zespri is an international brand and a significant New Zealand company, with a unique focus on creating value for New Zealand kiwifruit growers. I am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to its future success,” says Mr Springford.

The appointment comes into effect from 1 May, with David Pilkington retiring after 12 years as a director of Zespri.

“David is one of the most highly-regarded company directors in New Zealand and has made an outstanding contribution to Zespri and to the kiwifruit industry. This includes not only his role in chairing the Board Innovation Subcommittee but also his contribution to the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project. We thank David and wish him well for the future,” says Mr McBride.

Mr Pilkington reflects on his service to the Zespri Board and how the industry has grown and changed over that time. “Over the 12 years as a director of Zespri, I have been privileged to be involved with a cohesive industry that has worked together to overcome serious challenges, particularly with Psa, and is now on track to deliver impressive growth and transformation. The industry’s outlook is very bright,” says Mr Pilkington.


For more information, contact Zespri Senior Communications Advisor Rachel Lynch on or 027 509 1805. A high-res photo of Peter is available here and a high-res photo of David is available here.

About Peter Springford

For five years from 1998 to 2002, Peter was the Hong Kong-based President of IP Asia, a subsidiary of major US-listed forestry company, International Paper. During this time, Peter built a US$500 million business through developing three greenfield plants in China, joint ventures in Japan, Korea, India, Taiwan and the Philippines and acquisitions within the region.

On returning to New Zealand in 2002, Peter was CEO of Carter Holt Harvey (CHH). Following the acquisition of CHH by Rank Group in 2006, Peter co-invested with CVC Capital Partners, an international private equity firm, in the purchase of CHH’s Chinese panels business. He has since invested in and is involved in the running of two entrepreneurial New Zealand-based companies – New Zealand Frost Fans and New Zealand Wood Products. Peter is a trustee of the charity Medicine Mondiale and a chartered member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.

About David Pilkington

David Pilkington became an independent director of Zespri in 2005. He has an extensive career in the New Zealand agricultural industry, including 28 years with Fonterra (formerly the New Zealand Dairy Board) where he held a number of senior management positions, including Chief Executive Officer of the Dairy Board’s operations in both North America and Japan. His most recent role at Fonterra was Managing Director of New Zealand Milk, the global consumer products and food-service business. David’s current governance roles include Port of Tauranga (Chair), Rangatira (Chair), Hellers (Chair), Tuatara Brewing, Douglas Pharmaceuticals, Northport Limited and PrimePort Timaru.

About Zespri Group Ltd

With sales revenues of $1.9 billion in 2015/16, Zespri is one of the world’s most successful horticulture marketing companies and the Zespri brand is recognised as the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit. Based in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand, we are 100 percent owned by current or past kiwifruit growers, and employ around 400 people in New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the Americas.

On behalf of our 2,500 growers in New Zealand and 1,200 growers based elsewhere, Zespri manages kiwifruit innovation and supply management, distribution management and marketing of Zespri Green, Zespri SunGold, Zespri Organic, Zespri Gold and Zespri Sweet Green Kiwifruit.

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