Change at top of Comvita

Change at top of Comvita

Comvita has named David Banfield as chief executive to head up the New Zealand-based Manuka honey maker after Scott Coulter departed in September.

Banfield, whose career spans stints at water-filter company Brita and retail chain Sainsbury's, will become CEO of the Wellington-listed business on 20 January.

Coulter's departure was announced in June when Comvita revealed it was launching a review to include "under-performing assets of the business, as well as structural, balance sheet, leadership and organisation considerations".

Chairman Neil Craig said in a statement today (13 December): "David has a solid track record of delivering on both top- and bottom-line growth for premium global category leading brands. He shows empathy for people from diverse cultural backgrounds and has led the development of a number of values-based international organisations. We feel sure he is the right style of leader for this next phase of development at Comvita."

At Brita, Banfield led their UK and Irish business for 11 years and was also global commercial director based in Germany. He became CEO of New Zealand-listed Methven in 2014.

Banfield commented: "From the earliest of my interactions, I recognised synergies with my experience in water and health, international distribution and putting a consumer-led proposition at the heart of the business.

"Comvita is a brand and a company with a strong purpose and values at its heart, holding a market leading position in a category that is forecast to deliver meaningful growth over the next five to ten years. It's our job to ensure we deliver on the undoubted potential that exists and bring strong top- and bottom-line growth back to the business." 

Comvita delivered a loss for the year ended 30 June of NZD27.7m (US$18.3m) versus a NZD8.2m profit a year earlier.

Revenue fell 4% to NZD171.1m. It reported an operating loss of NZD3.2m, compared to a NZD13.1m profit in the prior period.