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New Chief Executive for Food Waikato

Dairy product manufacturer New Zealand Food Innovation Waikato has appointed Tony Giles as its new Chief Executive.

Tony, who was formerly Chief Executive of New Zealand Dairy Goat Co-operative, will take over from Stuart Gordon, who has been Chief Executive of FoodWaikato for the past nine years.

Stuart is stepping down from the role but will remain as part-time Chief Executive at Waikato Innovation Park,where FoodWaikato is based.

FoodWaikato Chairman, Barry Harris, said Stuart was leaving the company in a strong position and FoodWaikato was fortunate to have attracted someone to replace him that also had an in-depth knowledge of dairy manufacturing.

“Tony comes to FoodWaikato from New Zealand Dairy Goat Co-operative, so he not only has knowledge in the dairy goat industry, but he also brings a wealth of experience in dairy manufacturing, international marketing, leadership, and governance.”

FoodWaikato offers specialised spray drying facilities for the manufacture of innovative dairy products, including infant formula. It tripled its manufacturing capacity with the commissioning of a new spray dryer in 2020 and it has grown its staff from two to nearly 40, over the past nine years.

Its customers include New Zealand’s two biggest sheep milk producers Maui and Spring Sheep, both of which are tenants at the neighbouring Innovation Park. It also manufactures product for Australian-based Nu Mega, which develops bioactive ingredients for health and nutritional products.

“Over the past nine years with Stuart at the helm FoodWaikato has grown from a business with two employees to nearly 40. He has put in place a strong management team with a culture of being flexible and innovative and the result has produced a high-quality product,” said Barry.

He said the growth in New Zealand’s sheep milk industry was a boon for FoodWaikato which has a bright future.  The value of New Zealand's largest supply of dairy sheep milk is likely to triple to $44 million over the next three seasons.

Tony was with New Zealand Dairy Goat Co-operative for 19 years in total, holding executive and marketing roles. He held the position of Chief Executive for five years, until 2018.

“When I finished with Dairy Goat Co-operative, I wanted to take some time out with my family. We did some travelling and I worked on some personal projects. When this role came up it was the right time for me to take on another challenge,” said Tony.

“I see it as a great opportunity to get involved in the Innovation Park environment, continuing to build on the great work Stuart has already done and helping emerging and innovative businesses to grow.”

Tony Giles;Food Waikato