Silver Fern Farms’ board of directors has appointed Simon Limmer as its new chief executive.
According to Silver Fern Farms co-chair Rob Hewett, Limmer has an excellent set of skills and experience to continue the strong progress the company has been making as a leading red meat food processor.
“The Board is excited by the leadership Simon will bring to Silver Fern Farms. Simon comes with deep commercial experience in the food, manufacturing and service sectors both here in New Zealand and in several of the key international markets in which we operate,” Mr Hewett says.
Limmer has significant general management experience developing effective supply chains, in stakeholder relations and in business development. He has spent the past nine years working for Zespri in a variety of general management roles in New Zealand and in China. Prior to that, he spent 14 years with French multi-national Veolia, in Europe, East Asia, Oceania and the Americas.
Simon Limmer graduated from the University of Waikato, with a Bachelor of Management Studies. He completed a Ford Motor Company sales and marketing graduate programme in New Zealand before a 14-year international career with environmental services company Veolia Environment (CGEA/Onyx) based in Paris, Auckland and the UK.
He returned with his family from France to take up a role as general manager of global supply with Zespri in 2008. He has held other roles with the organisation including general manager grower and government relations, general manager China, and since 2014 he has held the chief operating officer role.
Limmer received a Prime Minister’s Scholarship in 2010 and completed the highly regarded INSEAD Singapore – Asian International Executive Programme. In 2015, he attended the Te Hono Movement NZ Primary Sector Bootcamp at Stanford University.
“His experience, most recently with Zespri as their chief operating officer, and prior to that as their GM China, gives us confidence he will be able to continue our development as a consumer-oriented food business. Simon has a clear affinity with New Zealand agriculture and what is required to successfully take our great products to consumers locally and around the world,” says Hewett.
“One of Simon’s clear strengths is his ability to lead people. He has led large teams, and has a strong affinity and understanding for farmer producers – which is a critical part of the ongoing success of Silver Fern Farms.”
Limmer says he is excited to be taking on the leadership of Silver Fern Farms at an important time in its development.
“It is a great time to be leading Silver Fern Farms. The company is well-positioned to add value to New Zealand’s natural grass-fed red meat – there is a consumer trend to natural whole foods, the company has a really good brand, is well capitalised, and has a talented and enthusiastic group of people.”
Limmer will take over the role from Dean Hamilton in March next year. Hamilton, who announced he was stepping down from the role in July, will stay on in the role until that time to ensure a smooth transition.
“The Board is really appreciative of the service Dean has given us over the past three years,” says Rob Hewett. “His strategic and people leadership has laid a strong foundation for Silver Fern Farms and we are confident Simon will continue that progress.”