Wrightson boss Mark Dewdney to leave at the end of the year
By Paul McBeth
June 13 (BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson chief executive Mark Dewdney will leave the rural services firm at the end of the year, by which time a new leadership team is expected to be in place.
Dewdney will end three-and-a-half years in charge of the Christchurch-based company at the end of 2017 “to pursue private interests”, and will help the board install a new leadership group by 2018, Wrightson said in a statement. Chairman Alan Lai said Dewdney had done an “excellent job” in building staff engagement and targeting growth in certain areas of the business.
"The business has performed well during his tenure and he continues to have the full support of the board," Lai said. "Mark’s offer to remain CEO until the end of this year will ensure continuity through this transition, which is important given the need to maintain PGW’s stability going into the upcoming spring season."
Wrightson's profit growth stalled in the first half of the current financial year, which it blamed on low prices for dairy and wool and reduced production of red meat which had made farmers more cautious about spending.
Dewdney, a former chief at Livestock Improvement Corp, replaced George Gould in charge of Wrightson, coming in just after the rural services firm wrote off $321 million from the goodwill accrued in the 2005 merger with Pyne Gould Guinness. Since then, Wrightson has posted stable earnings despite the slump in dairy prices last year.
When Dewdney took over the reins, Wrightson shares were near their lowest level since at least 1998, and under his reign they more than doubled to 59 cents, valuing the company at $445.4 million and outpacing the 79 percent increase in the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index over the same period.
Wrightson is 50.2 percent owned by Agria Corp, which traded on the New York Stock Exchange until being suspended last November and delisted on Jan. 2. Wrightson's chairman Guanglin “Alan” Lai, who is also executive chair of Agria, had made a takeover offer for Agria last January but withdrew the offer in April.