Carol Ward


A rare chance to hear from local legend Carol Ward, in charge of Zespri’s $35 million innovation science budget and tasked with achieving $2 billion worth of exports by 2020. From research to robots, green to gold, Carol will share how her experiences both at home and abroad have armed her with the skills she needs to keep innovating.

After four years offshore Carol has happily returned to New Zealand soil to take up a new challenge as General Manager Innovation. She has been with Zespri since 2002, and held a variety of roles in that time, including General Manager Marketing which saw her relocating to Belgium, Taiwan and Singapore. Although this gave her family the opportunity to explore interesting parts of the globe, she is happy to be back living, working and fishing in the beautiful Bay of Plenty.

Carol loves working for such an innovative and vibrant company, selling a product that she is passionate about and even grows herself on her family’s kiwifruit orchard. She is a graduate of the University of Waikato, with a Bachelor of Management Studies (hons). Prior to joining Zespri, Carol worked in marketing and sales for Carter Holt Harvey Tissue, and divisional management at Hanimex (NZ) Limited and New Zealand Dairy Foods.