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Nigel Comer's role expanded to include Heinz Australia


The regional role of Heinz Wattie's Managing Director Nigel Comer has been extended with his appointment as Managing Director of Heinz Australia and Regional CEO of Australia, New Zealand and Japan for HJ Heinz. In the New Year he will relocate to Melbourne. In addition to these expanded responsibilities, Mr Comer will retain responsibility for Korea and Papua New Guinea.

Mr Comer's promotion was announced by Heinz Chairman, President and CEO Bill Johnson as part of the realignment of Heinz leadership in Asia Pacific.

Mr Johnson said the appointment was a reflection of the dedicated contribution and strong leadership that Mr Comer had provided at Heinz Wattie's in the past nine years as MD. "Under his leadership Wattie's has consistently achieved growth and the Wattie's brand has enhanced its standing as New Zealand's number-one brand."

The New Zealand leadership team, with Michael Gibson as Chief Operating Officer, will continue to report to Mr Comer. Mr Gibson's appointment as COO was made in April this year to provide additional capacity at the time Mr Comer took a wider regional role.

Mr Comer's recent promotion follows a number of recent appointments for New Zealand executives to global Heinz responsibilities with Mike Pretty appointed as Vice President Global Ketchup, Health and Wellness and Marketing and Bryce Dyer appointed as Human Resources Director for Africa and the Middle East along with his existing responsibilities for New Zealand.

Mr Comer is a 30-plus year veteran of the Wattie's businesses, and has previously held senior management positions in former divisions of the company, including Best Friend Pet Foods and J. Wattie Foods (canned recipe products). He has held the senior sales and marketing positions for the business in New Zealand and Australia, playing a leading role in developing Heinz Wattie's exports and consolidating manufacturing capabilities from across the region into the Company's Hawke's Bay plants.

Mr Comer has overseen a remarkable period of sustained growth and development right across the Wattie's business. Aside from the growth in Wattie's branded products, driven by innovation, 56% of the Company's total production is now exported, generating significant export earnings for New Zealand. This is counter to the trend in the New Zealand food industry where 75% of the products with which Wattie's competes are now imported.


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