Steve Saunders says his Plus Group of companies is now in a strong position to scale up its Robotics Plus unit's operations.
Plus Group chief executive Tina Jennen was stepping down early next month for a new role running food testing company Eurofins' new Bay of Plenty unit, having helped Plus Group complete its accounting system change and revamp the group's human resources system.
"We'll be employing a number of new people to fill those capability gaps that Tina was empowered to identify," said Mr Saunders.
Two immediate appointments would be made to cover critical workload: a full-time executive for Robotics Plus and a full-time management role to support the group's science research and consultancy. A new group chief executive would also be hired and Mr Saunders said that person was likely to be from an agri-tech background.
"Tina's role involved spending a lot of time helping build team capability within Robotics Plus, and the team will really miss her and wishes her well," he said.
"We're now in a position to begin really scaling up."
Robotics Plus had developed commercial clients for its robotic apple packers and is about to ship a number of machines to the US, he said.
The apple packer had also been named as a finalist in the innovation in agribusiness & environment, innovation in design & engineering, and innovation excellence in research categories of this year's NZ Innovation Awards, while Robotics Plus chief operating officer and director head Dr Alistair Scarfe was also nominated in the young NZ innovator category.