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Rockit is looking for a new CEO in 2025

After joining the globally popular company, Rockit in 2021, current CEO Mark O’Donnell is set to retire and the team of apple lovers is now on the hunt for the next person to take over in 2025.

Having intended to leave in early 2024 but being delayed due to the impacts of Cyclone Gabrielle in the previous year, Mark O’Donnell is ready to hand the reigns to the apple company to a new CEO.

Rockit was heavily impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle which took a third of their apple production, but in 2024, the company is predicting to export over 200 million apples.

“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 percent,” says Chairman John Loughlin.

Read more: Rockit fired up for a record season

Since spearheading the company in 2021, O’Donnell has been recognised for his work to navigate during Covid-19 and natural disaster whilst also increasing revenue and rebranding the company.

He has also been awarded the Supreme Award at the New Zealand International Business Awards, one of his highlights during his time at Rockit.

“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,” says O’Donnell.

“In my time at Rockit we have achieved massive growth. This is typified in that one of my first responsibilities was to commission a new packhouse facility that we have now outgrown with two additional offsite 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.”

The search for Rockit’s new CEO has now begun, says Loughlin with O’Donnell still available for assistance after his retirement.

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