Todd Corporation, the holding company for New Zealand’s wealthiest family, has appointed the first non-family member to serve as chairman of the family business.
The Wellington-based company, which is controlled by the founding Todd family and has interests in the energy and media sectors, said that Geoff Ricketts, who is currently deputy chairman, will replace John Todd at the helm of the business.
Todd, grandson of the company’s founder, will retire after heading the firm for 24 years. He began at the family business in 1945, became deputy chairman of the board in 1978 and chairman nine years later when he took over from his uncle, the late Sir Bryan Todd.
Although Todd will step down from the board, he will remain the head of the family foundation and will continue to do philanthropic work, such as helping raising funds to assist the recovery of the city of Christchurch, which was hit by an earthquake in February last year.
Non-family Ricketts is also chairman of Lion Nathan National Foods, one of the biggest food and beverages companies in Asia Pacific, and a director of a number of other companies.
Todd Corporation was founded in 1885 by Charles Todd as a wool-scouring company, a few years after the family immigrated to New Zealand from Scotland. During the 1930s, the family diversified its interests to include automobile distribution, electricity and capital investment.
According to Forbes, it is the first billion dollar company in New Zealand by sales. The Todd family has an estimated wealth of NZD2.7 billion (€1.5 billion).