July 14, 2011


Fonterra names former Royal Friesland Foods executive as new CEO



Fonterra has named Dutch dairy executive Theo Spierings as chief executive, to replace Canadian Andrew Ferrier, passing over internal candidates to run the world's biggest exporter of dairy products.


Spierings, who led Dutch dairy cooperative Royal Friesland Foods in its 2008 merger with Campina, will take over from Ferrier effective September 26, the company said in a statement.


Spierings has 25 years of experience in the dairy industry, and had experience in a variety of general management, operations and supply chain and sales and marketing positions across a number of geographies, said Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden.


Spierings, 46, left Royal Friesland shortly after the merger. He is married with three children and currently lives in the Netherlands, where he owns an advisory firm focusing on corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions in the consumer goods sector, the statement said.


"What makes Fonterra really unique is its combination of low-cost pasture based farming and its status as the world's largest milk processor," Spierings said in the statement. "The challenge ahead was to add another layer of value across the business."


The Fonterra Shareholders' Council, which represents the farmer shareholders of Fonterra, issued a release saying it welcomed the appointment.


"The appointment of the right person is a vital step for the co-operative, and Mr Spierings' vast experience at the helm of not only a dairy company but also a co-operative should ensure he comes to grips quickly with the unique model and values that have been so instrumental in driving us forward over the past decade," said Council chair Simon Couper.


"His expertise and recognition amongst his peers for his leadership, delivery of results, and strategic skills should bring a raft of tangible benefits to the table as we move into our second decade."


Couper also "recognised the contributions" of outgoing CEO Andrew Ferrier.


"There were many positive changes made during Andrew's tenure and the cooperative is gaining strength each year. Mr Spierings' appointment will help Fonterra move to the next level as we continue to develop the co-op's full potential," he said.


Ferrier will announce Fonterra's 2011 results before handing over to Spierings. Van der Heyden said the cooperative will report "a record financial year."

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