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Sanford’s MD Set To Step Down New Zealand, January 30, 13

Sanford managing director Eric Barratt will step down at the end of 2013 after 15 years at the helm of the listed fishing company.

Sanford's MD, Eric Barratt, in the center (fifth from right to left)

Chairman Jeff Todd announced Barratt’s resignation at the conclusion of the company’s annual meeting, held in Auckland this afternoon.

Todd paid tribute to Barrat’s performance over the years, and said the Board had accepted his decision with sadness.

He said Barratt would stay on in his current role or as a consultant until the leadership transition has been smoothed.

“I am delighted to report that Eric has agreed to assist the board as it enters into a process of international search for his replacement,” he said.

Barratt has been tasked with navigating the company through choppy waters in recent years.

Sanford was fined USD 1.9 million this month (NZ$2.27m) for dumping oil waste at sea in July 2011.

The detainment of the tuna boat involved, the San Nikunau, also bit heavily into the annual tuna catch during a time of record high prices.

Longstanding Sanford director David Anderson also stepped down at today’s meeting, which was the 108th in the company’s history. Anderson told the audience he had been present at half of those meetings, or 54 consecutive years.

“I regret I was not able to attend the first 54,” he joked.

He observed how the industry had evolved over his lifetime to the point where modern fishermen were now highly-trained and extremely professional.

In the early years we formed the opinion that the best fishermen were the ones with three wives and three mortgages - they had to go to sea to earn money!”

National Party president Peter Goodfellow, whose family are core Sanford shareholders, was successfully re-elected as a director.

Paul Norling was also successfully re-elected as an independent director.