New Zealand seafood giant Sanford announced the resignation of CEO Volker Kuntzsch, after seven years leading the company.

Kuntzsch’s last day at Sanford will be Sept. 18.

“Volker has helped transform Sanford into a progressive, values-based company with an outstanding commitment to environmental sustainability and to Sanford’s people," said Chairman Rob McLeod.

"Over those last seven years we have made good progress on maximizing the value of our fish products and diversifying our business, as well as turning our aquaculture business into a profitable and innovative unit.

“As we now move towards a greater focus on consumer-driven innovation and marketing, Volker and the Sanford Board have agreed that now would be a sensible time for a new leader to drive the next phase of the strategy.”

Kuntzsch says while it is sad to move on from a company of which he is very proud, the period of lockdown in New Zealand gave him an opportunity for reflection and decision-making with his family around him.

“I’m incredibly proud of the transition we have made as a company from a commodity business to one that focuses on value and values. The team are truly outstanding and I will miss them but I am ready for and looking forward to the next chapter in my life which starts with stepping back and focusing on my lovely family," he said.

"I have spent many years in leadership roles around the world. Sanford is one I will look back on with great satisfaction and with confidence that its people will continue on the path and strategy we have set and will achieve great things.”

The Sanford board will shortly commence an international search for a replacement chief executive. In the interim, Sanford Chief Customer Officer Andre Gargiulo, will be the acting CEO.

Kuntzsch came to Sanford in 2013 from South African harvester Sea Harvest, before which he was at Unilever seafood processor Frozen Fish International and Japanese giant Nippon Suisan Kaisha (Nissui).He was IntraFish's 2017 Person of the Year.

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