Former Farmers CEO and valued member of the New Zealand fashion industry, Rod McDermott has died after a car and truck collided on Welcome Bay Rd on Wednesday 22nd March. The crash happened around 2:50pm halfway between Reid Road and Kairua Road in the Bay of Plenty. The truck driver was uninjured. The crash happened in an 80km/h zone, however most of the rural Welcome Bay is 60km/h.
After 25 years in the business, McDermott stepped down from his position in October 2016. Managing director of First Retail Group, Chris Wilkinson said McDermott was "a bit of an icon in the retail sector" and that McDermott lead the organisation through major changes during a tough time in terms of retailing. "During that period Farmers bought Whitcoulls; they developed all new systems and set up a new head office. All of those things happened under his watch," Wilkinson explained. "He lead them through some fairly major changes and in a very tough economic climate."