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McLeod Retires as GM of Aviagen New Zealand

13 May 2013

NEW ZEALAND - Don McLeod has had an extensive career within the poultry industry, dedicating the majority of his working life to a handful of different companies over a 40-year period.

Don McLeod with Mr Kaleli in Turkey in 2003

Mr McLeod graduated from Lincoln College in Canterbury with a Diploma in Valuation and Farm Management and initially joined the Lands & Survey Department where he spent the next 2 years. He then branched out and signed on with a small family company called Wood Brothers and involved himself in broiler production for a further 2 years before marrying and moving to the UK to pursue a post graduate course studying Agricultural Extension Methods at Reading University in the United Kingdom.

Mr McLeod returned to New Zealand in 1972 and commenced work as a Poultry Advisor for Northern Roller Milling for the next 6 years before they were acquired by Tegel Foods Ltd in 1980. At this time he wanted to venture out on his own so left Tegel and became a partner for the next 4 years in a commercial egg farm operation in Sheffield, a small town outside Christchurch on the Canterbury Plains.

After deciding that commercial egg farming was not for him, he joined Tegel and moved to New Plymouth as Hatchery Manager in 1984 before returning to Christchurch to manage the breeder operation for a short period. A subsequent move back to the hatchery in New Plymouth resulted in Don accepting management responsibilities for the company’s total breeding and hatchery operation in the early 1990’s.

He followed this with a short period in broiler management before being promoted to Livestock Manager for the Tegel New Plymouth Operation which he ran for the next 4 years. In 1998 Don accepted the role of General Manager Ross Poultry New Zealand where he worked for a further 4 years running all aspects of the company’s breeding business. He indicated that this was a particularly enjoyable period becoming part of the Ross team, getting to know the key technical team in the company’s head office in Newbridge, Edinburgh and having them come to New Zealand to assist the local technical and production teams.

In May 2002, Mr McLeod accepted the role of General Manager for Ross Anadolu in Ankara, moved the family to Turkey and spent the next 5 years running the joint venture operation and market leading breeding company during a time of rapid growth. The company had just completed the construction of a new hatchery and immediately purchased the first farming operation in early 2003. The business continued to expand, producing over twice the volume of breeding stock by the time Don departed in 2007.

On his return to New Zealand the future was unclear until Aviagen acquired the Tegel-owned, Ross Poultry New Zealand in December 2007 and quickly followed that with the acquisition of Bartter Enterprises facilities in April 2008 to form Aviagen New Zealand and Aviagen Australia. Don accepted the role of General Manager, Aviagen ANZ and commenced running both operations. Three years later, Mr McLeod stepped down to manage Aviagen New Zealand as part of the early preparation for his retirement.

“I have enjoyed my time in the poultry industry and have been fortunate to experience a number of different roles and responsibilities both here in New Zealand and overseas. My time earlier in Tegel laid the foundation and later in Ross Breeders was very rewarding as I had great affinity for the culture of the company and the capability of a tremendously talented technical team in Scotland.

“The family feel and support within Ross was very evident and helped a lot when we relocated to Turkey and I was able to run Ross Anadolu joint venture in a way that was needed to succeed in achieving and sustaining the rapidly expanding business. I have been fortunate to work for great companies and I leave an industry with good memories and many good friends," said Mr McLeod on the eve of his retirement.

Don McLeod (bottom left) attending the 2011 Aviagen ANZ Technical Symposium in Melbourne

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