David Hemara has been appointed new chief executive of the Dairy Goat Co-operative after Tony Giles announced last year he would step down from the role.
Hemara said his immediate focus would be about maintaining the co-operative’s push for quality, innovation and export market development.
“It’s really about the challenge of managing the business for growth and making sure that it is sustainable and we are developing the right markets.”
Outgoing Giles said last year that the co-operative’s key areas of growth over the past few years had been in Europe with new and emerging markets including Spain, France, United kingdom, Germany, Poland, Greece and Turkey.
“It’s a really big part of the growth that’s underpinning the co-op right now and will do in the future.”
Long standing markets in Asia were also performing well, he said.
China is the company’s largest market. The co-op was among infant formula makers which had to formally re-register with Chinese authorities in a process that took a year.
Giles said he hoped the company could “make an impact” in Canada, Mexico and South American countries within the next five years.
Hemara joined the DGC as its general manager of strategy and commercial in 2014. He has more than 20 years of commercial and executive experience in New Zealand agritech and used to be the chief operating officer for LIC.
He said goat milk production was largely tracking to budget this season. Production had varied between individual farmers but most of them had good seasons. Hemara will take over the chief executive role in May.
The Hamilton-based co-operative specialises in the manufacture and export of goat milk nutritional formulas for infants.
Goat milk is sourced from its 72 shareholder suppliers in Northland, Waikato and Taranaki. The co-op owns and operates its entire manufacturing processes for milk formula for infants and children.
Its farmer payout in 2016 was $18.50/kg of milksolids and it markets and distributes its products to more than 30 countries.
Hemara said the co-operative was an evolving business, but did not require radical change.
“It just needs a continued focus on growth going forward.”
While the co-operative had yet to reach the end of its financial year, he was pleased about the steady growth of DGC markets.
“It’s always a little more encouraging when you are getting growth broadly across markets rather than in one or two areas. Generally, it’s been pretty good. We will wait to see how the year finishes up, but it’s been tracking well.”
Hemara said they were constantly refining products and their main focus would be on market development.
“More of our focus will be on identifying the right markets to go to and finding good partners in those markets.”
Chairman Campbell Storey said they were pleased that a member of the executive team was successful in being selected as chief executive after an externally led four month recruitment process that assessed internal and external candidates.
“David takes on the CEO role with the full support of the board, and brings the right mix of commercial experience and strategy focus to drive our future growth. We are confident he will continue the results that Tony [Giles] has achieved over the last four years.”
By: GERALD PIDDOCK