Leo Kelso

Chief Operating Officer

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Leo started with Riversun in late 2012 as the business manager of our potted plant operation, and then over the next few years worked through various management roles within the company as he developed his knowledge of this very complicated and challenging business, before finally arriving at the position of Chief Executive. He held this position for 3 years before making a decision in early 2018 to step down to take up the role of Chief Operations Officer (COO) and focus on an area he remains truly passionate about.

“The horticultural industry is on a skyward trajectory as world demand grows for quality produce. Due to this, coupled with the reputation Riversun has developed over the past 30 years for “Growing Excellence”, our amazing business has so many opportunities arising almost on a daily basis! Our responsibility now is to make sensible and informed decisions to allow the business to make the most of these opportunities to build an enduring prosperous future. In the role of COO I will be focused on supporting this endeavour by ensuring our operations run efficiently, deliver on time, on quality, and on budget, all while constantly developing and evolving to make the most of technological advances.”

Born and bred in Gisborne, Leo started his career in operations management in the cider industry working for Harvest Wine Co Ltd, a local business credited with starting the cider revolution in NZ in the 90’s & 2000’s. This business was then acquired by the international cider makers HP Bulmers in 1997, and years later by Fosters Group Ltd. Due to this he was able to experience the move from private enterprise through to an international corporate all while remaining in a local business that was also working through rapid expansion, a perfect storm so to speak. The experience he gained from 13 years working in that environment, including consulting to other international arms of the company, were seen as a sound base as he moved into private enterprise with the purchase of two local hardware operations. Following the trials and tribulations of taking those businesses through the recession period experience in 2008-11 it’s safe to say that challenge and change have been constant themes throughout his working life.

When he’s not at work Leo loves nothing more than spending time with his two daughters Ella and Jasmine, and his wonderful wife Rowena, or hitting the running trails and feeling the freedom of open and clear thinking that going for a run always brings.



0800 11 37 47
0279 322 685