Our People

Lead Team

STUART WESTON
Managing Director

Stuart joined the kiwifruit industry in the early 1990’s and has gained extensive experience in industry matters. Stuart is a former CEO of Apata Limited, Affco Limited and Bromley Park Hatcheries, and returned to the industry in late 2012 determined to see off the challenge posed by Psa and build a strong, robust business. Expect to see Stuart crawling over packhouse equipment and pacing coolstores at both sites in the coming seasons.

EUGENE CROSBY
CFO and Company Secretary

Eugene joined the industry in late 2009 as Apata Limited’s CFO. A qualified accountant, Eugene worked in large multinationals in NZ, UK and Australia for 15 years before settling in Tauranga. Eugene understands the impact of Psa having purchased an orchard in Tauranga with Hort16A six months before the first confirmation of Psa in 2010. Eugene like the rest of the management team is determined to see the business thriving in a post Psa environment.

SHAUN VICKERS
GM Business Development, Client Services and Orchards

Originally hailing from the “mighty Waikato” where he began his career in horticulture, Shaun’s diverse experience in horticulture has gained him knowledge and skills in the fields of growing, teaching & training, grower relationship management, post-harvest operation management, and nutritional management in the pip fruit, kiwifruit, and avocado industries. His last role saw him managing the horticulture & arable business unit nationally for Ballance Agri Nutrients.

HANS VAN LEEUWEN
GM Operations

An engineer by trade, Hans has held a number of senior leadership roles in the Royal New Zealand Air Force that centred around people, introducing new capability and driving business performance. His career culminated as Chief of Staff at RNZAF Base Ohakea where he was 2IC to the Base Commander and responsible for infrastructure and operations. One might think this is a world removed from Apata however, from Hans’ perspective, both organisations operate in a dynamic, high pressure environment and rely heavily on its people, both in terms of leadership and teamwork, to get the job done.

KATE TRUFITT
Compliance and Avocado Business Manager

Kate has held roles in the horticulture sector for a number of years and has experience marketing citrus, pip fruit, feijoas and avocados. Kate has also held a number of roles in operations and logistics before turning her skills to human resources, compliance and health & safety. Kate joined Apata Group in August 2015 and leads the avocado team, as well as the compliance and health & safety business functions. Kate loves to work for a company that is passionate about what it does, its brand, and has a genuine value-based story.

JASON GIBBS
Commercial Manager

Jason has over 14 years’ kiwifruit industry experience in a number of post-harvest entities. A former CFO, Jason brings financial acumen to commercial decision making. Jason previously worked in the financial, retail and property management industries in the UK, and throughout New Zealand, before moving to Tauranga. Jason joined Apata in May 2016.

JEAN-PAUL (JP) LASSALE
General Manager Technology

JP moved to Tauranga from Singapore with his family in 2014. Initially an Engineering Geologist by profession, working predominantly in tunnelling in Southern Africa, JP moved into IT in 1999, where he spent 15 years in a multi-national business working in Europe, Australia and Asia, the last eight years as APAC IT Director. After a brief stint in Healthcare, JP joined Apata and the kiwifruit industry in 2015, and he brings enterprise IT leadership to the team.

SHERYL THOCOLICH
Human Resources Manager

Sheryl joined the kiwifruit industry full-time in early 2005, however grew up working in the industry during her school holidays; picking and packing kiwifruit every season while at high school. She has seen the growth of the industry from childhood to present and has said the constant change and having to adapt to different challenges always keeps it interesting. Sheryl has a good understanding from an employee’s perspective, having started from entry-level positions, and brings that understanding into her Senior Management role.

Directors

MARK MAYSTON

Chairman

Mark is the General Manager of Bruntwood Farms, a large scale family kiwifruit and avocado growing operation in Tauranga, which until recently also included a kiwifruit packhouse facility. Mark also worked for Zespri prior to returning to the family business and currently sits on numerous industry bodies including as Executive of New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated and the Kiwifruit Industry Advisory Council.

Alan Birley

Alan has been involved in the kiwifruit orchard and post-harvest industry for over three decades, having established and operated his own post-harvest business on what is the current AGL site in Te Puke. Alan is regarded as a pioneer of controlled atmosphere kiwifruit coolstorage and is a large scale grower.

SEAN CARNACHAN

Sean has been the Managing Director of Western Orchards Ltd based in Katikati for more than 30 years. Western Orchards Ltd is an Orchard Management and Post-Harvest (Packing & Cool storage) operation. He lives with his wife and two sons on a 15 hectare orchard in Katikati where he grows Gold3 and Hayward. He has an extensive knowledge across all aspects of the kiwifruit industry and is currently on the NZKGI Forum. Sean has been involved in the Zespri new varieties programme and travelled on Zespri grower trips around the world, which has given him an understanding of the Marketing strategies and implications of the Zespri Supply Chain.

STUART WESTON

Stuart was elected to the Board of Directors of Apata Limited in September 2012. Stuart is a previous CEO of Apata Limited from 2003 – 2006 and presided over a period when Apata was renowned as an industry leader in innovation and performance. Since then, Stuart has held senior roles in the meat and poultry industries, but has kiwifruit in his blood, hence his return to the industry.

Matt Flowerday

Matt and his family are large suppliers and shareholders of Apata, and we are thrilled that he has become a Director. Matt runs a successful farm mapping company, who many in the kiwifruit industry would be familiar with, called GPS-it. He has also represented Apata’s kiwifruit growers on our Grower Entity for several years, and the valuable contribution he makes at that forum can now be extended to our company’s Board.