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Rockit Global CEO to retire in March 2025

Rockit Global Limited Chairman John Loughlin announced that Chief Executive Officer, Mark O'Donnell, has decided to retire from 31 March 2025. An international search will commence to find a replacement. The timing allows for the search and good handover to a successor, to be completed around the 2025 harvest and the early sales season for that crop.

O'Donnell joined Rockit in January 2021 on what was intended to be a three-year assignment to take the rapidly growing, branded miniature apple company through its next growth stages. Mark had intended to move on to a professional governance career in early 2024. This plan was agreed with the Rockit board during his recruitment process, but was delayed by a year following the devastating impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Loughlin noted that the Rockit business has taken massive strides forward under O'Donnell's leadership. "The company has progressed hugely during Mark's tenure. Rockit export apple sales revenues have grown from $55 million to $150 million, planted areas in New Zealand have been expanded from 470 hectares to 688 hectares, the in-market sales and marketing teams have grown from three people to 18 people and unprompted consumer brand awareness in key markets has lifted from 3% to 29%. Importantly, brand sentiment sits at a very high 88."

Highlights during his tenure, include rebranding of the company and receiving the Supreme Award at the New Zealand International Business awards. O'Donnell said, "It has been a special privilege to lead a business that operates a value chain from orchards, mainly in New Zealand, to consumers around the world. The strong consumer focus reflects an aspiration that only Zespri seems to have achieved in scale from New Zealand. In my time at Rockit we have achieved massive growth. One of my first responsibilities was to commission a new pack house facility that we have now outgrown with two additional off site packing operations working this year. We have expanded, growing into the Gisborne and Canterbury regions. We have built a management team with deep capability and professionalism. All this has been achieved in an environment with the global pandemic, a devastating cyclone and all the vagaries of horticultural production seasons. I've really enjoyed the role, the people and the challenges, especially those relating to the fast-paced growth and the global consumer focus. The breadth of the role and its supply chain complexity have called on all the skills that I have developed in a long executive career in leading New Zealand companies."

Loughlin advised that the search process for O'Donnell successor will now commence, he will remain available after his retirement to assist Rockit as required. "The business continues to have massive potential, and the enabling steps for the next phases of growth were put in place under Mark's leadership."

For more information:
Anna Murray
Rockit Global
Tel: +64 6 878 5664
[email protected]

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