The NZ Food & Grocery Council Chief Executive Chief Executive Katherine Rich is stepping down from the role after 13½ years.

She says it’s time to pass the baton to someone else, and to move onto new, as yet unknown, ventures.

The search for a successor is being finalised and an announcement will be made soon.

Food and Grocery Council board chair Mike Pretty has paid tribute to Katherine and her efforts to get a better deal for suppliers.

“During her tenure, Katherine used her skills along with the connections she acquired during her nine years in Parliament as an MP to turn [the council] into a voice and a force to be listened to when it came to legislation and regulation affecting the food and grocery industry.”

Her achievements are too many to list, but she will leave before the greatest of all of them all – and perhaps the biggest change in the history of the grocery supplier industry – is finally implemented: the grocery code of conduct that will change the way suppliers are treated during negotiations.

Katherine will continue as Chief Executive till her successor is in place.

 Katherine has posted the following on her LinkedIn page:

“After 13.5 years the time is right to pass the baton and step down as CEO of the New Zealand Food and Grocery Council.

“Thank you to all members and all I have worked with for the betterment of the NZ food and grocery industry. It has been my utmost privilege to be an advocate for food and grocery suppliers here in New Zealand and in export markets.

“I have been so fortunate to work alongside so many great FMCG leaders, particularly our chairman Mike Pretty and previous chairs of NZFGC – Peter McClure, George Adams, Pierre van Heerden, Veronique Cremades and Tim Deane, plus all Board members, longest serving member Scott Mackay, and everyone who has rolled up their sleeves for our working groups.

“Words are insufficient to express my thanks the mighty FGC team Brent Webling, Carole Inkster and of course my wingwoman, Kira Mikelatos.

“Thank you once again to all members and those I have worked with. We’ve achieved more than we thought possible. It has been my honour to be your advocate.”

NBR report

NBR’s Dita De Boni has reported Katherine is leaving “having achieved what the hundreds of suppliers belonging to the Council had long wanted – a legislated grocery code of conduct that will change the way they are treated in negotiations with Foodstuffs (Pak’n Save and New World) and Woolworths NZ (Countdown) and any others.”

Submissions on a consultation paper on the proposed Code of Conduct was published on July 6 and submissions closed on August 10. MBIE is now considering them. The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment MBIE is now doing further analysis before feeding into policy decisions by Cabinet, and decisions are expected to be made public in around October.