Call for Directors for the Otago Chocolate Company

22 September, 2017 by
FMCG Business

The campaign to retain significant chocolate manufacturing in Dunedin takes another step forward with the call for expressions of interest from company directors.

Dunedin Manufacturing Holdings Incorporated Society (DMH) aims to crowdfund the purchase and expansion of locally owned craft bean to bar chocolate maker OCHO (Otago Chocolate Company). OCHO will be scaled up to keep jobs and chocolate making skills in Dunedin, becoming a significant producer of premium quality chocolate.

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Jim O’Malley, and a team of volunteers, have driven and evolved the project since the announcement by Mondelez that the Cadbury factory would be closed. Following a public rally and international media interest, more than $5 million was pre-pledged to keep chocolate and confectionary making in Dunedin. ‘Own the Factory’ has advanced its strategy to focus on premium chocolate-making and has joined forces with independently owned OCHO.

Jim said the call for expressions of interest from experienced company directors was an important milestone. “Initially we are looking for an establishment board of three directors to help develop and scale OCHO to become a significant premium chocolate manufacturer. We have an ambitious timeline and we are looking for a Board who can make a significant investment with their knowledge, energy and time over the next year.”

Assuming the success of the PledgeMe equity crowdfunding campaign, the first role of the board will be to appoint the CEO and then confirm the strategic plan for the first phase of the company’s growth; investing in state-of-the-art chocolate manufacturing machinery, moving to new premises, developing chocolate tourism and expanding premium sales.

The Establishment Board will be appointed for one year, after which it is anticipated that two additional board members will be appointed including one to represent OCHO employees.

Directors should have a strong commitment to regional development. DMH will be looking for a mix of experience across legal, accounting, marketing, communications, branding disciplines as well as establishing and scaling companies. Additionally, experience in community initiatives and FMCG food are beneficial. Directors must commit to the company values of making high quality craft chocolate, paying fair wages to workers and a fair price for cocoa beans, retaining industry and craft skills in Dunedin with a profitable business, respecting the environment and supporting workers, growers and customers.

Jim said DMH is working to a tight timeframe which is:

  • Monday 2 October – Offer document, full terms of reference and budget available for short listed Board applicants
  • Mid October – appointment of Board
  • Tuesday 31 October – Pledge Me crowd equity funding campaign begins.