Friday, August 18, 2017
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Zespri CEO takes home top prize

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Zespri chief executive Lain Jager has been revealed as the winner of the 2017 Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the Year.

The announcement was made at a dinner in Hamilton this evening, with Lain presented with a trophy and a cash prize of of $2500.

Having joined the company in 1999, Lain has served as Zespri CEO since 2008. During his time with Zespri, global sales have increased from just over $500 million to $1.9 billion in 2016/17, with $1.1 billion of that returned to communities around New Zealand.

Recognised for his open, accessible and direct style of communication, he was nominated for the Business Herald Business Leader of the Year in 2015, and the Rural News editorial team also acknowledged him earlier this year as the top leader in the agribusiness sector in its 2016 in Review.

Lain’s understanding of complicated information and the way he can make this accessible to a wide range of audiences makes him an outstanding communicator.

Organisers described him as generous with his time, addressing forums such as the Kelloggs Rural Leadership programme each year as well as delivering monthly CEO video updates to all Zespri staff and even jumping out of a plane for the Drop Your Boss charity drive.

This is the 31st year the Agricultural Communicator of the Year title has been awarded, and is the first year of involvement by the new sponsor Ravensdown, after 30 years of sponsorship by Landcorp.

This year there were seven people nominated and the decision was reached by a panel of 10 judges from around the country.

New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators president Ali Spencer said: “There was a range of high standard nominations from our members this year, but for our judges, Lain stood out as most excellent primary sector communicator in 2017.

“We salute his skills and knowledge, and congratulate him on this award.”

She also congratulated him on his decision to donate his prize money to the Child Cancer Foundation.

Ravensdown provides the prize for the winner, part of a sponsorship package of nearly $6000 for the Guild. The additional funding assists with administration costs for the award, including the awards dinner.

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