Spark's Chris Quin named Foodstuffs North Island chief executive

Telco's number two hops industries.

Grocery co-operative Foodstuffs North Island (FSNI) has appointed Chris Quin as its next chief executive. 

Mr Quin, who announced his decision to quit Spark in January, will finish up with the telco in June and start at Foodstuffs on September 7.

Jason Paris is stepping into Mr Quin's role as chief executive Home, Business and Mobile – effectively the No 2 job at Spark.

As Mr Quin revealed his decision to resign, Spark CEO Simon Moutter praised his role in the company's business transformation programme. However, in the popular mind, he will be best known as the manager who fronted to customers during the XT debacle. He has continued to develop his reputation for being open to customers, and staff (during his time as acting chief executive before Mr Moutter came onboard, Mr Quin sat at a desk on a public mezzanine floor).

Mr Quin was a candidate for the top job when Paul Reynolds quit, and was widely tipped to depart once he had fulfilled a promise to stay on and help with a major Spark restructure.

Today, he told NBR he had achieved his main goal, which was to get a job in a new sector.

He also said online retail and technology would be two areas of interest at Foodstuffs but that he would not be making any substantive comment on direction until he officially joined the company in September.

FSNI chairman Peter Anderson says Chris Quin has the leadership skills and business experience to take the co-op into a new phase of excellence in meeting the needs of New Zealand shoppers.

“Chris is a Kiwi with the leadership qualities to take Foodstuffs North Island to the next level over the coming years. The co-op will be well-served by his people skills, track record in bringing teams together and growing substantial businesses.

“Chris understands the Kiwi consumer and the role of technology in serving them – these are essential ingredients in the changing landscape of grocery,” Mr Anderson says.

“We undertook a global search and engaged with strong candidates from New Zealand, the UK, Europe and the US. After that rigorous process, the fact that the best person for the job is a Kiwi is a bonus and a credit to New Zealand business leaders,” Mr Anderson says.

Chris Quin says he is delighted to join Foodstuffs North Island, which employs more than 22,000 people.  

“Foodstuffs is a highly respected co-op that has served New Zealanders for over 90 years.  I’m looking forward to rolling up my sleeves to learn a lot more about the unique world of grocery and working with the team and almost 350 store owners to create a fantastic experience for Kiwi shoppers,” Mr Quin says.

Mr Quin received a Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award in 2010 for his leadership achievements and contribution to the community.  He is chair of the business growth hub The Icehouse.

Mr Anderson says the 2013 merger of the two former North Island Foodstuffs co-operatives to form FSNI is almost complete.  He praised the contribution of current FSNI managing director Murray Jordan who last year announced he would leave the business in mid-2015 to pursue professional board appointments.

“Murray has made a big difference to Foodstuffs over the past 11 years including increasing our sales and market share while implementing the merger at a time of considerable change.  It is a tribute to his leadership that we are now ready for new developments to benefit our customers, suppliers, staff and owner-operators.”

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