A man who helped transform the merino industry says he is looking forward to taking a step back and reflecting on his achievements.
After 27 years as the chief executive of The New Zealand Merino Company, John Brakenridge will step down at the end of the year.
The company which he co-founded connects wool growers with buyers and helps tell the story of the New Zealand industry to markets around the world.
Brakenridge said the industry had completely transformed over the last 30 years.
"The biggest change has been how we moved to contracts versus auction, how we've shifted from commodity into longer-term transactions that, for the likes of Icebreaker, go out 10 years. It's a game changer for growers."
Moving from selling the fine wool at auction to selling longer-term contracts had helped lift prices and kept them stable so farmers had certainty around the prices they were going to get.
"Now I'm starting to stand back and reflect on what we've achieved, it's been fantastic. It's a new way of doing business and if we think about the counterfactual, the fine industry was very much like the strong wool industry.
"We'd been attacked by synthetics and polyester garments and all of those sorts of things so if we hadn't made the change I'd hate to think of what the state of the industry would be like now."
Brakenridge said moving into the active and outdoor wear space has also helped.
"When The New Zealand Merino Company began the market for merino active and outdoor wear didn't exist and now it's worth millions of dollars; it's only going to get bigger."
He said getting the industry to where it was now had felt like a 27-year sprint, but he was confident it was his time to take a step back.
"We've had three record years, we've got an incredible platform and an amazing team. And so, from my perspective, it's time to step aside and allow some new talent to come in and, you know, propel the business to its next levels, the future is looking bright."
Brakenridge said he was going to enjoy a summer holiday before exploring opportunities in the primary sector in the new year.