Sanford CEO Peter Reidie has resigned after putting New Zealand’s largest seafood company on course to recover pre-Covid profit levels.

Craig Ellison, a Sanford board member since December 2021, will step into the role on an interim basis as a search for a permanent CEO commences. Reidie has led the business, which supplies markets in North America, Europe and Asia, including China, since April 2021.

Chairman Sir Rob McLeod said: “I thank Peter for his dedication and leadership at Sanford during a period of extremely challenging local and international business conditions.

“These include a very challenging marketplace, the supply chain and other disruptions bequeathed by the Covid pandemic, labour shortages, persistently high inflation and geopolitical instability.”

McLeod added in a stock-exchange filing today (1 August) that Reidie has led the Timaru-based business “through these challenges and out the other side”.

Pre-pandemic, Sanford was generating adjusted EBIT of around NZ$60m ($36.9m), the company noted in its annual results filing in November. For that year to the end of September, EBIT rose 73% to NZ$40.2m.

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By GlobalData

In the first six months of the new fiscal year, to 31 March, the profit metric was up 38.7% at NZ$26.6m.

Reidie, who will remain at Sanford on a contract basis to assist with the handover to Ellison, said “the company is well advanced on its post-Covid recovery”.

He added: “After I’ve finished some important projects at Sanford, it’s time to move on and focus on family, personal and other commitments.”

Sanford reported in May that first-half revenue improved 2.5% to NZ$277.6m. Sales revenue stood at NZ$531.9m in the previous financial year, an increase of 8.6%.

Net profit after tax (NPAT) almost doubled in the half to reach NZ$11.1m, compared with NZ$6.1m a year earlier. In the previous 12 months, NPAT rose NZ$39.6m to NZ$55.8m.

Reidie said in May in commentary accompanying its results: “We have seen very encouraging growth in global sales. There is strong demand across the board. This ranges from our highly valued scampi and salmon to more everyday products such as hoki and squid. We have seen record pricing in the period for all these species and more.”