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Darling Group appoints new CEO for J.H. Leavy & Co

It is bittersweet to announce that there will be a change in CEO at J.H. Leavy & Co. from 31 March 2023. Current CEO, Ben Bartlett is stepping away from the business to focus on his health after battling CKD (chronic kidney disease) for over a decade says Andrew Darling
Managing Director, of the Darling Group.

"A donor transplant is the next phase in his treatment and will require the best of his time and energy to prepare and then recover from this major operation. Ben was instrumental in the development of Darling Group’s Australian business, starting out with us at Global Fresh Australia with the national sales and marketing of NZ avocados and kiwifruit," says Darling.

When Darling Group acquired J.H. Leavy & Co. from the Tighe family in 2016, Ben took the helm and managed a successful transaction which has provided us a more significant platform to grow from today. "Ben has our absolute support and best wishes, and we hope to be working with him again soon."

Jacob’s produce career began in the USA with Tom Lange and Co. He then returned to the family business in 2016 taking up a role with J.H. Leavy & Co. before coming back to NZ in 2017 to lead Darling Group’s Sales and Marketing team.

Since then, he has driven the development of Darling Group’s international trade and 12 month supply strategy, growing this into an $35m business with goals to increase this to $100m over the next five years. Jacob became COO of Darling Group in 2022 where he took on oversight of Darling Group’s NZ avocado supply and packing business, Just Avocados, while also still maintaining active involvement in international sales and marketing.

New CEO New Zealand Domestic Operations for Darling Group
"I am delighted to announce that Jacob's responsibilities for our New Zealand avocado supply operations (Just Avocados) will be picked up by the appointment of Glen Dunseath to the role of CEO New Zealand Domestic Operations with Darling Group," states Darling. 

Glen is currently the CEO of our domestic avocado and citrus business Zeafruit - this responsibility is incorporated into his new role. Glen is taking up this role effective immediately.

Glen has worked tirelessly to strengthen Zeafruit’s business, develop and deliver on its strategy, champion safety and quality along with promoting Zeafruit strongly in the domestic market.

"With the two appointments above, I see us strengthening our business for the future, with both Jacob’s and Glens industry experience, strategic vision, constant customer focus and proven records of delivery coupled with their focus and commitment, I am thrilled to see them lead the Group in the next stages of its development," says Darling.

New role based at J.H. Leavy & Co. (Darling Group Australia)
As part of the strategic direction for our international trading to be based in Australia, a new role has been created that will see Shaun Mckone based in the Brisbane office from late April.

Shaun is currently the Sales and Marketing Manager for Darling Group, based in New Zealand. He manages the southeast Asian markets including Australia for all products sourced from Australasia and North and South America. He is also across the blueberry category and the market validation process for future investment in an Asia office.
The new role has been created to hub all Australasian import and export out of Australia, which is an integral part of Darling Group's 12 months’ supply strategy.

Included in this, is the significant growth in the operational space in the Australian business. Shaun’s placement in Australia is intended to have a heavy focus on the operational growth of Darling Group Australia going forward. Shaun’s ability to contribute to this further growth will be utilised to continue ensuring that we grow sustainably and with stability

Congratulations to the team on their new appointments.

For more information:
Andrew Darling
Darling Group

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