MAINLAND Holdings Ltd – one of Lae’s largest private sector companies – has a new chief executive officer.
Richard Greenhalgh, who has been the general manager of the chicken-producing company Tablebirds, officially moved into the Milfordhaven Road headquarters of Mainland Holdings last week.
He takes over from the former chief executive officer Graham Pollock who is due to leave soon.
Mainland employs around 1,800 people of whom just under 1,000 work for Tablebirds alone.
The company’s main businesses are chicken, crocodile farming and coffee exporting – what Mr Greenhalgh calls the three “Cs” – chicken, crocodiles and coffee.
The company’s crocodile farm just outside Lae contains more than 40,000 crocodiles.
Crocodile skins are exported to Japan and France where they are fashioned into all kinds of highly-priced fashion products such as ladies’ bags, watch bands, belts and shoes among many others.
Likewise, crocodile meat is a delicacy that is on high demand at local supermarkets in Lae and Port Moresby.
With chicken production, the company has a large out-grower programme that has enabled people in the Lae area to grow chicken that are sold back to the company for processing.
Mr Greenhalgh told The National last week that in two weeks’ time Tablebirds eggs will be on the market selling in Lae and Kokopo and then Port Moresby early in the new year.
Port Moresby accounts for 50% of the Tablebirds market.
Mr Greenhalgh said the company had gone into egg production in a big way to meet the increasing demand for high-quality chicken eggs.
There is also an increasing demand for chicken with the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, the mining and other major projects coming up throughout Papua New Guinea.
Tablebirds was preparing itself to meet the demand, Mr Greenhalgh said.
He said while Mainland Holdings was strengthening its coffee division, it was also focusing on vanilla as a major future export.
This comes at a time when leaders like the Member for Bulolo Sam Basil, is funding vanilla training for village farmers in his electorate.
Mr Basil wants his electorate to become a major vanilla producer.
Mainland Holdings recently appointed a vanilla extension officer to work on the product and Mr Greenhalgh said the company was also working with experts in vanilla to develop the crop as a major export out of Lae.
Mr Greenhalgh first came to PNG in 1977 where he managed Lae Coffee Mill for 10 years until 1990.
He left PNG and went to work in Africa and South America before returning to PNG in 2007 as general manager of Tablebirds.
His wife Anna was formerly deputy principal of the Bulae Primary School in Lae.
She is now international curriculum coordinator for the Coronation College.
Mr Greenhalgh, an accountant by profession, described his new job as “exciting” with so much to be done in the time ahead.
Mainland Holdings is a local company owned by 15 business groups from the Morobe and Oro provinces.