B+LNZ chief executive signals March 2015 departure

Scott ChampionBeef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ Ltd) chairman, James Parsons has today announced the resignation of the organisation’s chief executive, Dr Scott Champion. Dr Champion will leave the industry body, and also his role as chief executive of the New Zealand Meat Board, at the end of March 2016, after 10 years with the organisations.

Dr Champion commenced with then Meat & Wool New Zealand, as general manager market access and market development in March 2006. He then stepped up to the chief executive roles in late September 2008.

Most recently, Dr Champion has successfully led B+LNZ through the 2015 Sheepmeat and Beef Levy Referendum which secured over 84 percent support for the organisation to continue working on behalf of farmers.

Dr Champion says the time is right to hand over to a new chief executive to guide the next stage of development and service delivery for the organisation.

“I feel enormously privileged to work for New Zealand sheep and beef farmers and represent their interests here at home and in our export markets. The Sheepmeat and Beef Levy Referendum results show that the work we have done as an organisation over the past six years has built a strong platform, engaged us strongly with sheep and beef farmers and built an organisational culture centred on farmers.

“While there is still plenty more to do, the strong and positive farmer response in the referendum has also set a clear direction for the organisation through the next six years. The organisation will continue to evolve through this period and it’s a good time for new operational leadership to drive that process, alongside the board of directors, from the start of this new six year levy cycle.”

James Parsons said Dr Champion had demonstrated great leadership through some up and down years in the red meat sector.

“During my seven years as a B+LNZ board member, it has been a pleasure to work with Scott. He is highly regarded by all stakeholders, not only farmers. His integrity is outstanding and he has fought hard for farmers. The strong farmer-facing culture Scott has fostered in his team of staff has really built momentum in the last couple of years. Scott committed to lead B+LNZ through the referendum process. As he plans his next move my sincere hope is he won’t depart our industry, as he has a significant amount to offer New Zealand’s agricultural sector.”

Dr Champion noted the strong culture which had developed over the last few years at B+LNZ, with farmers, directors and staff developing a strong shared vision and united focus that has enabled the organisation to get on and do the best by farmers.

He said: “It has been a wonderful experience to work with great staff and a great board, and to know we all want to head in the same direction. The creation of the B+LNZ Farmer Councils has been the stand-out change for me. They have given all of us an opportunity to link much more closely to sheep and beef farmers and their communities and deliver what they need in each region. They have ensured that the B+LNZ tagline of “By farmers. For Farmers” isn’t just a slogan; it’s what we’re about.”

Dr Champion will remain in the chief executive role until the end of March 2016. A recruitment process to find a new chief executive has begun.

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