Sanitarium Executive General Manager Pierre van Heerden has announced that he has resigned and will step down as Head of Sanitarium in December 2016, after a handover period.
Van Heerden has led Sanitarium New Zealand since April 2007. He started with Sanitarium in Australia in 1996, before relocating to New Zealand. He has also been actively involved in industry and government bodies having led the Food and Grocery Council in a number of roles including Chairman, been on various advisory groups to the government and ministers, such as the Front of Pack Labelling advisory group, Health Star Rating advisory group, Food and Beverage Industry Information project and is one of three New Zealand businessmen on the APEC Policy Partnership on Food Security.
Kevin Jackson, Global CEO of Sanitarium, says: “Pierre has made a significant contribution to both the growth of our business in New Zealand and to the New Zealand food industry. His accomplishments are well known and recognised in the community and industry. We certainly wish him well as he turns to new opportunities.”
After completing senior executive courses at both London Business School and INSEAD this year, as part of a Prime Minister’s Business Scholarship he was awarded, van Heerden says that he is looking forward to some new challenges and opportunities. Van Heerden says that he has no immediate plans for what he might do next, but will be taking some annual and long service leave to give him time to consider his next move either in New Zealand or abroad.
FGC pays tribute
The New Zealand Food and Grocery Council has also paid tribute to van Heerden. Chief Executive Katherine Rich says he contributed a great deal to the industry, both as a member of FGC and its Chair for three years, and on other industry bodies. “Pierre has played a big part in the advancement of the food and grocery industry for nearly 10 years.
“He led the FGC board through some testing times, and it’s impossible to calculate the number of hours he devoted to working on issues with me, the Board, and members personally or on their behalf. His advice and counsel were invaluable, especially to many of our smaller member food businesses.
“He will be remembered especially for his leadership during the Christchurch earthquakes, when he was FGC’s representative on the ground and personally helped distribute some of the 1000 pallets of food and supplies donated by member companies through the FGC office. He did that while dealing with issues at Sanitarium’s factory and making sure his own staff were safe.
“We wish him well in his next endeavours, which we hope will be elsewhere in the food and grocery industry.”