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Silver Fern Farms announced the resignation of chief executive Dean Hamilton, who will leave at the end of the year, and said a search is underway for his replacement.
Mr Hamilton has been chief executive of Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand's biggest meat company, for three years and steered it through the Shanghai Maling investment and partnership.
No reason was given for his resignation, but co-chairman Rob Hewett said "we been discussing for some time the demands on him of working away from home" and the board "appreciates and accepts" his desire for change.
Silver Fern Farms voted last year to sell a half stake in the business to Shanghai Maling for $267 million and the original cooperative of farmers now owns the remaining half stake, although Shanghai Maling has the casting vote on key strategic issues.
The meat processor posted a loss of $30.6 million last year in what it called a "very challenging year across the industry".
The deal enabled Silver Fern to repay its debt, removing a threat from its banking syndicate to withdraw support. The company cut net debt to $107 million from $121 million a year earlier and halved its finance costs to $14.8 million, it said in January.
The tie-up also enables it to tap Shanghai Maling's supply chain and parent Bright Food's wholesale and retail networks to distribute into China.
He "will leave the company in its strongest ever financial position, with a clear strategic direction and a very capable leadership team," said Hewett.