Plant & Food Research names Mark Piper as new CEO

Plant & Food Research has announced the appointment of Mark Piper as CEO from 1 May.  He will take over from David Hughes, CEO since 2018, who announced his retirement in late 2022.

Mark is a senior leader with 30 years’ global experience in the food and primary sectors.

Board Chair of Plant & Food Research, Nicola Shadbolt, said the Board was thrilled to make the appointment from a field of high calibre applicants for the role.

“The Board has taken great care over this vital appointment.  We are thrilled with the calibre of people who came forward wanting to be part of our organisation.  This is testimony to the work being done by our people and the reputation of Plant & Food Research for high quality, impactful science.   

“Mark’s passion for science is clear and he takes great energy from its potential to create a more positive and sustainable future.  I know that Mark will lead Plant & Food Research with innovation, integrity, and impact.”

Mark joins Plant & Food Research from Fonterra Cooperative Group, where he spent the last five years as Director Research & Development, Category Marketing & Strategy, leading a team of around 400 staff.

During his 30 years with Fonterra, Mark held roles based in New Zealand and internationally.  This included three years in Japan in a technical role focused on growth and customer engagement, and five years in the US where he was the Regional Director for Fonterra Americas, based in Chicago.

Mark lives in Palmerston North with his wife Angela and most of their six children.

He has a strong connection to the Manawatū and will be formally based at Plant & Food Research’s Palmerston North site.

David Hughes will work alongside Mark in an advisory capacity during May, with a particular focus on supporting Mark to make strong connections with Plant & Food Research’s key external partners, customers and stakeholders.

Nicola Shadbolt acknowledged the significant contribution made by David Hughes during his time at Plant & Food Research, building the platform that Mark can now use to take the business to the next level.

Source: Plant & Food Research

Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog