With the appointment of Kevin Bowler to the position of Chief Executive Officer, My Food Bag is ready to take the next steps forward in reaching more of New Zealand with its healthy meal solutions. Bowler has an outstanding track record as a leader and innovator. Under his tenure as CEO of Tourism New Zealand the international visitor sector grew over 30 percent to be New Zealand’s biggest export earner, worth more than $13b annually and attracting over 3.6m overseas visitors each year. Most recently he served as Chief Executive Officer of Frucor Suntory.
Bowler takes up the position from founding co-CEOs Cecilia and James Robinson as they transition into strategic and governance roles in the coming months.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Kevin to the company. He has outstanding leadership skills and a visionary style which will play an important role in propelling My Food Bag to new heights and reaching more customers with our healthy and delicious meal choices,” says Cecilia Robinson.
She adds that the company specifically sought an individual with a proven capacity for building high-performing teams and customer love. “Kevin has that reputation. His experience in consumer products on the one hand and digital business on the other makes him ideal for this position. We’ve got innovation in our blood and we’re excited to work with Kevin to continue to build the momentum.”
Bowler’s broad and senior business leadership experience covers a diverse range of industries including consumer packaged goods, telecommunications and media brands, in both New Zealand and internationally. He is thrilled to join a growth company which, despite being a household name, is barely five years old.
“My Food Bag is widely recognised as one of the most innovative companies in the country. We are also renowned for our focus on our people and our customer-first approach,” Bowler says. “I love that the business is built in New Zealand and for New Zealand.”
My Food Bag’s founding purpose was ‘to create stronger and healthier communities through changing the way we eat’ which resonates with Bowler. He says, “I’ve admired the innovation and pace set by the My Food Bag team for some time. From scratch, the team has built a loved New Zealand brand by solving the everyday question for Kiwis: what’s for dinner tonight?”
Bowler’s history of driving and achieving company outcomes is a key factor in his appointment. As Chief Executive of Tourism New Zealand, Kevin continued to evolve the successful ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ campaign, repurposing it for a digital-media world and using it as a platform to position the country as an aspirational destination.
In his time at Frucor Suntory, Bowler has championed the need for a wider portfolio of ‘better for you’ drinks including the recent launch of Amplify Kombucha and an extended range of packaged water propositions.
My Food Bag, founded in 2013 by the Robinsons, Nadia Lim and her husband Carlos Bagrie and Theresa Gattung, is a multiple award winner recognised for disruptive innovation and being a great place to work for more than 160 team members. It won the ‘Best of the Best Supreme Auckland Business Award 2017’ at the Westpac Auckland Business awards, placed 5th on the Kenexa Best workplace survey and Cecilia Robinson was named ‘Supreme Winner in the Women of Influence Awards’ in 2017.
Robinson says she and husband James are looking forward to working closely with Bowler in their governance roles as Founder Directors. “We’ll be on hand to assist Kevin in his new role as part of the board alongside our established executive team. Together we will continue on our mission to build stronger, healthier Kiwi communities and constantly strive to do better for our customers,” she concludes.
About Kevin Bowler
Kevin has held CEO positions since 2007, most recently joining Frucor Suntory as CEO in 2016. He has extensive marketing and business leadership experience spanning fast moving consumer goods, technology and media brands.
In 2009, Kevin was appointed CEO for Tourism New Zealand. Here Kevin transformed Tourism New Zealand to be a digitally led and integrated marketing communications business, which had a clear mission and values. During his time at Tourism New Zealand, the international visitor sector grew over 30 percent to be New Zealand’s biggest export earner, worth more than $13b annually and attracting over 3.6m overseas visitors each year.
Kevin continued to evolve the successful ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ campaign repurposing it for a digital media world using it as a platform to position New Zealand as an aspirational destination. Other highlights from his time at Tourism New Zealand included successfully leveraging New Zealand’s hosting of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and the series of three Hobbit films which showcased New Zealand’s natural beauty through film. Kevin says, “Connecting New Zealand with Middle Earth was a unique opportunity which Tourism New Zealand grasped with both hands using the wildly successful films to build more excitement and desire to travel to New Zealand among potential travellers, to see Middle Earth for themselves.”
Kevin is qualified with a Bachelor of Management Studies from the University of Waikato. He will become Kevin “Bacon” Bowler, continuing My Food Bags tradition of adding a foodie middle name when joining the team.
Kevin is a father to two daughters and is based in Auckland.