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Trade Me CEO to leave by end of the year

Trade Me Group chief executive Jon Macdonald intends to step away from the company that operates New Zealand's top online marketplace in about six months, leaving a position he held for more than a decade and a company he joined in 2003.

Wellington-based Trade Me, one of New Zealand's most popular websites, has recently struggled to find ways to accelerate business growth. In February the company predicted this year's full-year profit will expand at a lower growth rate than in the previous year as it continues to invest at a rate slightly above that of revenue growth.

The company's board will start a global recruitment process and work with Macdonald over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition, Trade Me said in a statement.

"After leading Trade Me for over 10 years, it’s time for me to take a rest and then do something new," Macdonald said in the statement. “Trade Me has a long and bright future, with more to do than ever, and it’s a good time to pass the baton to someone with fresh eyes and a full tank of gas."

Trade Me shares closed 1.7 percent higher at $4.93 on Monday. The stock has slipped 0.7 percent in the past year, underperforming the country's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 Index's 18 percent climb in the same period.

“When Jon started, Trade Me was a company of around 15 staff, still finding its place in New Zealand," chair David Kirk said in the statement. "It’s now a company of over 600 people and is recognised as one of New Zealand’s most loved and trusted brands."

Macdonald was at HSBC Bank before he joined Trade Me and has been on the board of NZX since 2013.

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