Sunday, July 3, 2022

Shaky start for new DINZ CEO

Deer Industry New Zealand’s new chief executive Dan Coup got off to an unexpected start this week.

“It was interesting. Yes, you could say definitely an interesting way to kick off – my first task on my first day was to advise all staff not to come to work on Monday and Tuesday,” Coup said.

Coup took up the reins of Wellington-based Deer Industry NZ (DINZ), last Monday, the day after the city’s large earthquake.

But shaky start aside, DINZ business was back to full swing on Wednesday, after the okay was given to return to the office.

And for Coup, 39, it’s exciting times ahead.

“I am looking forward to the deer industry. It was time for me to make a personal career change,” he said.

“The deer industry appealed and is relative to where I was working in other parts of the primary sector. I am grateful for the opportunity to take on a new personal challenge and to work with a pretty unique lot of people.”

A former trade and economic manager at the Meat Industry Association (MIA), Coup has a background that combines an honours degree in genetics and molecular biology with an MBA.

He is confident his experience in dealing with trade and market access with the MIA will be a significance asset to the deer industry.

“The deer industry has a view right across the value chain, from the farmers to the market to the customer. That is pretty unique. I am excited to learn from the farmers and at the other end of the chain, what happens to the product once it leaves the shores.

“I have worked with the in between but now in the deer industry I will be part of the whole value chain.”

The deer industry was a young industry slated by innovative pioneers and risk takers, he said.

“The personalities of the people in the industry are pretty unique. People are able to collectively work together and are willing to try things.”

He is keen to get to know the farmers.

“I am really looking forward to my first farmer meeting, which I expect will be phased in with field days.” 

“Market issues are by no means a rare occurrence and they have the ability to affect deer as well as sheep and beef. The skill and knowledge I have in that area I hope will be an asset to DINZ.”

Dan Coup


Coup has worked with a range of trade and market access issues over the years but acknowledged there had been some more high-profile issues recently.

“Market issues are by no means a rare occurrence and they have the ability to affect deer as well as sheep and beef.

“The skill and knowledge I have in that area I hope will be an asset to DINZ.”

Coup also cited his extensive involvement in meat-industry discussions with the Government and wider issues, including water quality and climate change, alongside developed relationships with other primary sector and stakeholder organisations, as skills he could transfer to his new role.

He said the deer industry had been a model for other sectors in the way DINZ linked governance, farmers and marketers.

The big challenge for the industry was maintaining its share of land use.

“There hasn’t been a good run in this respect of recent times, given the competitive dairy industry, and that is a focus for the industry, to ensure we can continue to operate profitably, taking in also the need to manage changes in policy around fresh-water and environmental issues.”

The deer industry is implementing a new growth strategy, called Passion 2 Profit, which seeks to increase profit per kilogram of venison by $2/kg over 10 years.

That would result from attention to profit opportunities, Coup said.

DINZ chairman Andy Macfarlane said Coup’s unique background and qualifications positioned him well to leverage off the outstanding work completed by outgoing chief executive Mark O’Connor, who led the industry for 13 years.

O’Connor left to run his family-owned investment business.

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