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Comvita appoints new CEO

News release For immediate release

26 August 2005

Comvita appoints new CEO with sights firmly on further international growth

Natural health food company Comvita Limited today announced the appointment of a new chief executive with extensive international business development experience.

Brett Hewlett, of Tauranga, will take up the role from September 19.

Comvita chairman Bill Bracks says the company is on a strong international growth path, and Mr Hewlett has the skill set to help achieve further significant expansion abroad.

In its last financial half-year, exports made up 60% of Comvita's sales, which grew 30% in New Zealand dollar terms during that period.

Mr Hewlett has spent 15 years of his 20 year-career overseas with the global food processing and food packaging solutions provider Tetra Pak. As one of its top 150 executives worldwide, he led the 1988 start-up of a company developing Tetra Pak's eastern Mediteranean markets (Lebanon, Syria, Jordon, Iraq and Palestine), building a team of 35 staff and significant revenues by 2002.

Mr Hewlett earlier held technical director and area general manager roles with Tetra Pak. For four years he was a project manager with Alfa Laval UK Limited (later acquired by Tetra Pak), leading teams to build new dairy and food processing plants. Mr. Hewlett returned to New Zealand with his family in 2004 and started a business mentoring service.

Mr Bracks says Comvita has been taking control of its own marketing overseas and under current CEO Graeme Boyd, who has had the role since 1998, has made significant gains in key markets, including the UK, Australia, Taiwan and Japan.

Comvita's principal export growth strategy is to change from being an 'exporter' to an 'international marketer' of natural health products and health solutions, Mr Bracks says.

"Future plans include an office in the UK which will also become the base for expanding into Europe, and to grow new business in the United States where significant opportunities exist in the Medical Honey products market. The new CEO has the skills to help make those happen."

Comvita has more than 90 staff in New Zealand and a further 10 offshore in subsidiaries in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and most recently Taiwan. It uses contract manufacturers throughout New Zealand to boost its in-house capability. This month it was named food and beverage Exporter of the Year.

ENDS

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