The leader of the region's largest Kiwifruit marketing company has decided to step down.
Zespri Chairman John Loughlin has announced he will stand down as Chairman of the Board and as a director early next year.
Mr Loughlin joined the Zespri Board in 2002 as one of three independent directors on the eight-member board, which includes five grower directors.
He became chairman of Zespri in August 2008.
"When I was re-elected in 2010, I signalled then that my intention was for this to be my last term serving on the Zespri Board.
"In line with this intention, I have announced my decision to stand down from the Board to growers, shareholders and other industry stakeholders,'' Mr Loughlin said.
The Zespri Board will now undertake a search for an independent director with the necessary commercial and financial skills and experience needed to fill the vacancy.
The new director will be appointed to the Board once Mr Loughlin steps down and confirmation of the appointment will be sought at Zespri's Annual Meeting in 2013.
Over the coming months, the Board will work through a process to decide who to appoint as the new chairman.
Mr Loughlin said to serve on the Zespri Board for 11 years was a privilege.
"This industry is one built on a pioneering spirit, camaraderie and a relentless desire to keep innovating and keep improving.
"While the industry is currently under significant pressure from Psa, I have no doubt that it will overcome this challenge as it has challenges in the past and will continue to be a New Zealand success story."