Craig Orr

Craig Orr has resigned as chief executive of New Zealand Hops Ltd after two and half years in the position.

Orr is moving on to focus on new business interests, NZ Hops chairman Maurice Noone said in statement.

“During this time Craig has led significant change for the organisation, now with a strong focus on being a customer facing business.   He has also refreshed the master NZ Hops brand and launched Nectaron, the new rock star variety taking the world by storm,” NZ Hops said in a statement.

“He leaves the co-op with a great team and new relationships established in key markets with distributors and partners.”

Nick Eden (Finance Manager) and Dave Woods (Supply & Operations Manager) at NZ Hops will be assuming key leadership accountabilities through the transition period until a new CEO is appointed.

Orr, brother of Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr, oversaw massive changes in his short time at NZ Hops, where he replaced long-time CEO Doug Donelan.

He introduced new branding, launched the new Nectaron hop and reinstated the relationship with government-owned research institute  Plant & Food NZ, to ensure an ongoing supply of new hop varieties.

Craig Orr

The co-operative also hired Meagen Anderson as business development manager in North America, her appointment coinciding with the release of Nectaron and a deal with British company Totally Natural Solutions to make branded hop oils.

At the time of the rebrand, Orr said NZ Hops — a collective of 28 hop growers — had to respond the rise of independent hop farms, such as Freestyle and Hop Revolution, after having a monopoly for decades.

“They shook things up,” Orr said of the independents. “It was a rude and crude awakening.”

“Part of our strategy is to restore and take back the leadership and start optimising our own story. We need to be a bit more market-facing, a little more open, a little more transparent with what we’ve got which hasn’t always been the case,” he said at the time.

Orr was keen to push more new hop brands following the successful launch of Nectaron, telling Pursuit of Hoppiness it would be the “first of many new brands and personalities” NZ Hops planned to release in coming years.

It’s understood has moved back to Taupo.