Alliance Group chief executive Grant Cuff is stepping
down in December after nine years in the position.
Yesterday, Mr Cuff (56) told the Otago Daily Times his
decision was not sudden and he had been thinking about it for
a while, looking for the right time to stand down.
During his 24-year tenure with Alliance Group, Mr Cuff held
various executive positions including general manager
commercial, chief financial officer, chief operating officer
and chief executive.
He was appointed chief executive in 2005, replacing Owen
Poole. At that time, Mr Cuff said he thought 10 years would
be an appropriate time to do the job effectively.
He was starting his 10th year ''in a month or so'' and it was
a matter of what was the right time to hand over to someone
else, he said.
Two years ago was a bad year, last year was a ''little bit
better'' and this year was ''OK'', with a strong balance
Markets for red meat around the world were reasonably good,
as was the supply-demand balance.
The world was finally coming to realise the quality of New
Zealand's product, service and traceability had real value,
while the dairy industry was ''taking a breather''.
He was confident the company had a great future with a
dedicated and experienced management team in place and
improving prospects in world markets.
Mr Cuff believed the industry could continue to look forward
His contribution to the New Zealand meat industry spanned 33
years and included roles within Southland Frozen Meat,
Challenge Meats, Waitaki International and Alliance Group.
He is also a director of The Lamb Companies group (North
America) and chairman of New Zealand Farmers (London), the
company's UK marketing arm.
Working in such an industry, there would always be
challenges, Mr Cuff said. He started as Alliance Group chief
executive in October, 2005 and, in January 2006, when he
''barely had [his] legs under the desk'', there was a major
fire at the company's Pukeuri plant.
There had been the global financial crisis, currency
''quietly dragging its way up'' and international food
But then the other side was all the good things - the rise of
China, the potential in the likes of India and Brazil, and a
much better balance of the company's product mix around the
world, he said.
Asked what he intended to do post-December, Mr Cuff said he
was looking forward to having a break.
Even on the occasional holiday, ''you don't get away from
it'', he said.
''It doesn't matter whether you've got a book or a glass of
wine in your hand, the mind's always at work on something.''
He was grateful for the support of his family who had been
What he was going to miss was the people involved, both the
staff and the farming community, all of who were ''wonderful
people''. They were the type of people he really enjoyed
working with, even though they could be tough taskmasters at
times, he said.
Mr Cuff said he had not been looking for any job
opportunities and it would be business as usual as he worked
through the next five months. He will stand down following
the company's annual meeting.
Alliance Group chairman Murray Taggart acknowledged Mr Cuff's
contribution to the company.
He had led it through a period of significant change and was
leaving it in a sound position and at a time when prices and
demand for red meat were strengthening.
He had steered the company through some challenging times and
the company had been fortunate to have his knowledge,
experience and ''steady hand'' to rely on.
Mr Taggart described him as a well-respected, unassuming
chief executive with a thorough understanding of the company
and the industry, excellent leadership qualities and
exceptional analytical skills.
Alliance Group's board would begin the search for a
replacement immediately, to ensure a smooth transition.