MARIETTA, Ga.–Wools of New Zealand has appointed Ross Townshend, a shareholder as well as a sheep farmer, as CEO. An engineer by background, Ross has a diverse 40-year career in several primary industries including dairy, red meat and forestry, and in roles from the factory floor up to funds management group marketing and CEO positions, both in New Zealand as well as other parts of the world. He will be based at the organization’s Christchurch, New Zealand, office, but will visit major markets on a regular basis.
Ross comes to the position with a desire to make a difference to wool returns for New Zealand sheep farmers, by adding value at all steps in the chain to market and for all participants, the company said. “We need to be sure that all the participants in the value chain from the sheep farmer right through to the consumer are able to benefit from our efforts, initiatives and strategies,” Ross said.
Earlier this year, Wools of New Zealand became a fully grower-owned company for the first time in its history; previously it was owned by PGGWrightson and a division of Wool Partners. More than 700 New Zealand sheep farmers have invested in and are committed to the growth and sustainability of the Wools of New Zealand brand and commercial initiatives, the company said. Ross owns 2,500 ewes on 1,700 acres on New Zealand’s North Island.