Marietta, Ga.—The Wools of New Zealand (WONZ) has named Ross Townshend as its new CEO. He is also a shareholder in WONZ, and is a sheep farmer with 2,500 ewes on 1700 acres in the North Waikato area of New Zealand’s North Island. Townshend, an engineer by training, has a 40-year background in several primary industries including dairy, red meat and forestry.
In March, the company became a fully grower owned company for the first time in its history. More than 700 New Zealand sheep farmers have invested in and are committed to the growth and sustainability of the WONZ brand and commercial initiatives.
Mark Shadbolt, chairman of WONZ, said that after a rigorous selection process spanning several months, Townshend had accepted the role. “In addition to his strong agribusiness sector credentials, Ross brings on board a global business perspective across the primary sector—from procurement and operations to supply chain and international marketing—honed through more than 10 years of senior operational roles with Rank Group companies’ Goodman Fielder, Bluebird Foods, Evergreen Packaging, Carter Holt Harvey and New Zealand Dairy Foods.” Townshend is also a director of Tatua Co-operative Dairy Co. Limited.
“The WONZ board has done a great job of raising capital and securing grower commitment,” said Townshend. “I look forward to the challenge of restoring wool to a profitable enterprise that it once was and we all need it to be again.”