Heinz Wattie’s Managing Director Mike Pretty is the new Chair of the NZ Food and Grocery Council.

He replaces Tim Deane, former Managing Director of Goodman Fielder NZ, who has moved to a position outside the industry, as executive general manager business banking at ASB.

Heinz Wattie’s is one of New Zealand’s biggest consumer food companies, with extensive vegetable and fruit canning, freezing and grocery production operations in Hastings, Christchurch and Auckland. As well as providing Kiwi consumers with great food and brands, it exports to many countries.

Mike Pretty joined the Goodman Fielder Wattie business in New Zealand in 1989 as a project manager for the Pet Food Division, BestFriend Pet Foods. Post-acquisition by HJ Heinz, he held numerous roles, including Export Manager, senior marketing roles, and Sales Director for Heinz Wattie’s, and in 2002 became Director of Marketing and R&D. In 2009 he was appointed Vice-President, Global Ketchup, Health & Wellness, and Marketing Development for the HJ Heinz Company reporting to the Global CEO. He was appointed Managing Director of Heinz Wattie’s in 2014.

He has been on the FGC Board since mid-2017.

He said he was honoured to be asked to chair the industry organisation that represents the manufacturers and suppliers behind New Zealand’s biggest food, beverage, and grocery brands.

“Our members play a vital role in the economy, accounting for $34 billion in domestic retail sales and 72 per cent, or more than $31 billion, of total merchandise exports. We also employ more than 400,000 people. I’m looking forward to working with the Board and all members to help build on the work of Tim Deane to ensure the role the sector plays in the economy remains strong and vital.”

Chief Executive Katherine Rich says Mr Pretty will bring a new angle to the Chair from his positions of not just running an iconic New Zealand company but also in his experience with the global part of the business.

“Mike is very passionate about groceries and about horticulture, both in Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury and is an active advocate for local growers, and his appointment continues the proud FGC tradition of being chaired by leaders of prominent companies. He’s been an integral part of FGC to this point and I’m delighted he has agreed to continue that.”

Mrs Rich says it was a privilege to work with Tim Deane, who put his own stamp on the role of the Chair. He will replace Veronique Cremades, former Country Manager of Nestle, as Immediate-Past Chair of FGC.