Silver Fern Farms chief executive Simon Limmer has signed off after six years at the helm of the meat processor and exporter optimistic about the future of New Zealand red meat.
Earlier this month, Limmer – previously the chief operating officer of kiwifruit company Zespri – announced that he’s standing down after five and a half years as boss of the meat processor and exporter. Last week it was revealed that Limmer will take up the chief executive role of Indevin Group, New Zealand’s largest wine company and owner of Villa Maria brand. He will take up his new role in early 2024.
SFF chair Rob Hewett says Limmer will stay in his role at SFF during the transition to a new chief executive and remain involved with the company in a strategic role in the future.
“We’re now entering into a formal process to find a replacement for Simon and I expect this will take until 2024,” Hewett added.
In a message to suppliers announcing his move, Limmer says it was time for new energy to take over the role.
“The business is in really good shape. We’ve built really good capability, have a clear direction of travel and produced some very good results in recent years,” he claimed.
“Notwithstanding the challenges we currently face. However, these are the economic realities we face and highlights just why our strategy is so important and the right one for us.”
Limmer added that he will stay involved with SFF where he ‘can add value’ and that there would be a long transition – into the new year – before a replacement was named.
Hewett described Limmer’s five and half years at the company as commendable.
“It’s a pretty short length of time when you consider how far the company has come.”
He also acknowledged the challenging times facing the company and farmers at the moment.
“What we are currently facing is tough and unprecedented in many ways, but the strategy we have adopted is validated by this,” Hewett told suppliers.
“What Simon and his team have done over the past five and a half years is ultimately going to stand Silver Fern Farms and our suppliers in good stead.”
He says the company has engaged international and local recruitment agencies in its search for a new chief executive.
“There is a good lot of New Zealanders employed offshore, as well as some really good talent internally.”
Hewett says wherever the new chief executive comes from, the process will take time and the company will be regularly updating suppliers on progress.
“I am expecting this will not be completed until early in the new year.”