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NZ: Zespri executive Simon Limmer new Silver Fern Farms chief executive

Simon Limmer has been appointed the new chief executive of Silver Fern Farms.

Limmer, 49, has been chief operating officer for Zespri where he has held various roles since 2008. He will take over the chief executive role from Dean Hamilton who steps down in March next year. 

Silver Fern Farms co-chairman Rob Hewett said Limmer had significant general management experience developing effective supply chains, in stakeholder relations and in business development. Prior to Zespri, he spent 14 years with French multi-national Veolia, in Europe, East Asia, Oceania and the Americas.

Limmer comes into the job after helping guide the kiwifruit industry through the Psa crisis, and has overseen the growth in its global supply strategy so the co-operative can supply markets 12 months a year.

He takes the helm at Silver Fern Farms a little over a year after it signed a $267 million deal with Chinese company Shanghai Maling, giving the latter a 50 per cent stake in the Dunedin-based processor. 

Hewett said Limmer's experience as Zespri's chief operating officer, and prior to that as their GM China, give confidence he would be able to continue SFF's development as a consumer-oriented food business.

"One of Simon's clear strengths is his ability to lead people. Simon has led large teams, and has a strong affinity and understanding for farmer producers – which is a critical part of the ongoing success of Silver Fern Farms."

Fluent in French, Limmer worked for Veolia Environment based in Paris, Auckland and the United Kingdom.

He received a Prime Minister's scholarship in 2010 and has completed the Asian International executive programme in Singapore.

Limmer is expected to continue in his present role with Zespri until he takes on the SFF job.


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