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Export Trailblazer’s Legacy

Media Release 9 November 2005

Export Trailblazer’s Legacy Provides Inspiration for Agribusiness Education Trust

Six leading New Zealand agribusiness exporters, educators and evangelists of integrated production and marketing systems have formed an educational trust to trailblaze new thinking and practices to continually build global competitiveness and the country’s wealth.

The Alistair Betts Memorial Trust for Agribusiness Excellence, launched today (November 9), aims to promote world-class performance in all aspects of agribusiness in New Zealand through sharing knowledge, forward thinking, best practice and introducing a Master Class Series with international business leaders as speakers.

Timaru born, Alistair Betts, who died after a short illness in December 2004, aged 59, forged an export path for New Zealand primary produce across the world, opening new markets in Southeast Asia, China, South America and Europe. Alistair spent 19 years overseas before retiring in 1995 to go farming in Canterbury and follow other business interests.

At the time of his death he was on the Board of 20 companies including Chairman of PrimePort Timaru, National Centre for Advanced Bio-Protection, Chairman and Director of Landcorp Farming and a Director of ZESPRI Group. He was posthumously awarded a Queen’s Service Order.

“He was a truly innovative international marketer - and a man who knew how to move this country from commodity trading to international marketing of fast moving consumer products.

The dairy and kiwifruit industries are glorious examples of his market-driven, integrated business model, “said Warren Larsen, Trust Chairman and a former colleague of Alistair Betts at the New Zealand Dairy Board. “Alistair was a catalyst, teaching people how to create points of difference to add value and build the necessary relationships with supply chains to deliver products and services that customers wanted! ….more

“I observed the distribution and marketing network he pioneered for the Dairy Board in the emerging Southeast Asian markets in the mid 1970s. For me the model clearly worked as a template for the marketing of New Zealand’s land-based products and I wanted to be part of this exciting initiative,” Mr Larsen said.

“Marketing was a crusade for Alistair and he gave people the confidence and competence to make the difference. He was always attempting to lift the bar in terms of marketing skills and he played a major part in the recruitment and training of marketers.

“This Trust commemorates the extraordinary contribution of a remarkable New Zealander whose vision, drive and passion for this country’s people, products and ideas helped pioneer the growth and international competitiveness of our dynamic agribusiness industry which remains the powerhouse of the New Zealand economy,” he said. “We aim to continue to extol those learnings of Alistair to contribute to the ongoing innovation, growth and value of the agribusiness sector.”

The first Master Class Series is scheduled for mid 2006 and will feature one of Alistair’s former colleagues, leading Southeast Asian marketer, Dr Ong Poh Seng and Boston Consulting Group’s Australasian head, Dr Alan Jackson who will discuss world-class marketing strategy and practices. Details of the dates and venues will be available shortly.

The Trust, run by the Massey University Foundation, brings together representatives of the industries and organisations which Mr Betts was so passionate about and in which he played so keen a role. Trustees are: Warren Larsen, Massey University Foundation and Trust Chairman;John Rolleston, PrimePort Timaru; John Kennedy-Good, Landcorp Farming; Sam Robinson, AGMARDT; Shane Lodge, Fonterra Co-operative Group and Peter Anderson, ZESPRI Group


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