Two New Zealand industry pioneers step down from leading roles at trade body

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

Alison Quesnal is resigning after five years with the organisation, and over two decades in the industry.
Alison Quesnal is resigning after five years with the organisation, and over two decades in the industry.
The chairman and corporate affairs director of trade body Natural Health Products New Zealand are stepping down from their roles.

Alison Quesnel previously led the organisation as executive director, before taking on the role of corporate affairs director last year.

And outgoing chairman Ron Geiger, owner/director of contract manufacturer Alaron Products, was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the trade body back in 2002.

In an email to members, Geiger wrote: “As you know, Alison has been stepping back over the past couple of years.  After more than five years with our organisation and nearly two decades in the natural health products industry, the call of enjoying life full-time at Waihi Beach has proven too strong and she has tendered her resignation, effective 30 June.

“Alison's skill, insights and larger-than-life personality will be greatly missed.  Having said that, she has indicated that she would like to remain connected with the industry in some way, which is great to know.

"On behalf of the board, I would also like to acknowledge Alison's significant contribution to our organisation, in her initial role as Executive Director and more recently as Corporate Affairs Director.  Her many achievements include building the membership, strengthening our networking reach, instituting Suppliers Day, and of course her work in relation to the Natural Health Products Bill.”

Indeed, Quesnel has been left deeply disappointed that the bill, which many in the industry believe will improve consumer confidence and boost exports, failed to reach the statute book.

It was progressing through the parliamentary process ahead of last September’s general election, but has since been removed by the new government.

We recently filmed this video interview with Quesnel,​ where she shared her thoughts on the situation.

Excellent heart

Geiger added: “As for me, I was part of the original steering committee that was raised from the first natural products industry Summit in 2002.  This formed the genesis of an industry group that became NPNZ with support from then TradeNZ.  I was chosen as chaiman of that committee, and have been chairman of NPNZ, now NHPNZ, since its inception that same year.

“Since then, what is now NHPNZ has grown from its 32 original members to the much larger and broader based organisation we know today. The organisation is in excellent heart, and the collaboration and collegiality we all wanted to bring to our industry has been again well demonstrated during our recent 17th summit.

“As I reflected on all of this, and in recognition that I am also transitioning out of day-to-day responsibilities at Alaron, it was clear that this is a good time to signal my intention to hand over the reins for somebody to lead NHPNZ to the next level.

"I have not put a firm timeframe on my resignation and am happy to remain as chairman of the NHPNZ board until a suitable replacement is found later this year.  If this happens during my current term on the board, then I will stay on as a board member until my current term is up. However, I do not intend to stand for re-election to the board in 2019.”

Kerry Warn, the organisation’s general manager, is remaining in post and will continue to oversee day-to-day operations.

“These developments have presented the board with an opportunity to review the organisation's structure in relation to the vacancies that will be created by Alison's and my resignations.  Once this has been done, we will advise all members of that structure and will seek expressions of interest for available board and employee roles,”​ Geiger added.

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