Foodstuffs is saddened to announce the passing of Baden Ngan Kee – a much loved and valued team member, who is widely acknowledged as one of New Zealand’s most effective and passionate advocates for the FMCG and retail industries.
Chris Quin, CEO Foodstuffs North Island says, “Baden had a remarkable career, working across a number of cherished New Zealand brands, but we’d like to think his time here at Foodies was where he brought all that expertise and passion to bear. We will miss his ability to challenge the status quo with good humour, insight, decisiveness and energy – and our hearts go out to his beloved family; Kath and children Ruby, Tobey and Eddie.”
Baden’s career covered virtually every key category when it comes to products customers love – whether wine (Mudhouse Wines), chocolate (Cadbury) and cheese (Mainland Foods and Fonterra Brands).
“When Baden moved to Foodies, he was charged with steering the Merchandise team to deliver the products customers need and want in our stores, untapping innovative foods and groceries and exploring new ways to deliver them. He hadn’t been with us that long when he received a shock diagnosis of lung cancer – which as a non-smoker, he fought with dignity and courage.”
That courage played out in other ways – especially as he campaigned for better treatment options for other patients. His personal battle became very public – and he is universally applauded for doing this. His battle was also one of the issues which kick-started the Foodies Foundation; set up to support the 22,000 team members in Foodstuffs North Island in times of need.
Colleagues tell tales of how Baden never shied away from the tough stuff at work as well. Brendon Lawry, former colleague and now CEO Liquorland says, “He really challenged you and supported you – you honestly believed you could do anything when you had his backing. It sounds cheesy in this day and age – but he absolutely loved this crazy FMCG and retail business and managed to get all of his team on board with his excitement and vision for how it makes a difference to millions of people every week.”
Quin says, “Even when Baden was terribly ill, he wanted to be with the Foodies team and more recently focused his attention on our Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. Like everyone here, he wanted to leave the world in a better place for future generations, and he played a big role in helping us bring this to life.”
Arrangements for Baden’s farewell will be advised in due course.