July 14, 2011

Fonterra Announces New CEO

CHICAGO, July 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Fonterra Co-operative, a global leader in dairy nutrition today announced the appointment of Mr. Theo Spierings as its new CEO.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110714/CG35458)

Mr. Spierings, who led the Dutch farmer dairy co-operative, Royal Friesland Foods, into a merger with Campina in 2008, will take over from Fonterra's departing CEO Mr. Andrew Ferrier, effective Sept. 26. Mr. Ferrier announced his resignation from Fonterra last March.

Fonterra's Chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said Mr. Spierings would bring to Fonterra 25 years of knowledge of the global dairy industry.

"Mr. Spierings has a wealth of experience in managing dairy businesses across Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Europe," Sir Henry said.

"Most importantly, Mr. Spierings has an in-built respect for the co-operative structure and for farmers and their commitment to co-operative principles. He is well recognized by his peers for his people leadership, delivery of results and strong strategic skills."

Mr. Spierings was acting CEO of Royal Friesland Foods when he presided over all aspects of its complex and highly sensitive merger with Campina. He left the company shortly after completing the merger as, prior to the transaction, both parties had already agreed on an independent CEO to take the new entity forward.

Sir Henry said as well as a 25 year history in the global dairy industry, Mr. Spierings had held a variety of general management, operations and supply chain and sales and marketing positions across a number of geographies.

Mr. Spierings said the role of CEO for Fonterra was a great opportunity, working in the industry he loved.

"I am honored to be invited to lead Fonterra into its second decade," Mr. Spierings said. "The Fonterra Board, Andrew Ferrier and his team have established a strong foundation and my challenge is to build an even more successful global dairy co-operative."

Mr. Spierings said he was familiar with both Fonterra and its key people and had great respect for the foresight New Zealand farmers had shown in creating Fonterra in the first place.

"A huge amount has been achieved in the past 10 years since Fonterra was established. Trading Among Farmers - the newly approved capital structure - is a good example. But what makes Fonterra really unique is its combination of low-cost pasture based farming and its status as the world's largest milk processor."

With the co-operative already performing strongly, Mr. Spierings said it was clear that the challenge ahead was to add another layer of value across the business.

"I am used to working for farmers and I know they demand results. Being entrepreneurs themselves, they expect continuous improved performance of both their co-operative and throughout the value chain," Mr. Spierings said. "I am acutely aware of Fonterra's importance to the New Zealand economy and look forward to leading an organization that has the potential to have such a positive impact on its home country. I thrive on the prospect of contributing to Fonterra's continued success, which I know is of great importance to not only its farmers and employees, but to every New Zealander."

Mr. Spierings, aged 46, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Food Technology/Biotechnology and a Masters in Business Administration. He is married with three children and currently lives in The Netherlands. He owns and runs his own company which focuses on corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions in fast moving consumer goods.

With the co-operative heading into a new production season, Sir Henry said that in the meantime it was back to business as usual. "In Sept. all members of the co-operative and all staff will want to say a big thank you to Andrew Ferrier for the great job he has done during the past eight years. After that we will reach out to welcome Theo Spierings."

Sir Henry said that 2011 would be a record financial year for the co-operative and therefore it was most appropriate for Mr. Ferrier to announce last year's financial results before he handed over to Mr. Spierings at the end of Sept.

About Fonterra

Fonterra is a global leader in dairy nutrition - the preferred supplier of dairy ingredients to many of the world's leading food companies. Fonterra is also a market leader with our own consumer dairy brands in Australia/New Zealand, Asia/Africa, Middle East and Latin America.

The farmer-owned New Zealand co-operative is the largest processor of milk in the world, producing more than two million tons of dairy ingredients, value added dairy ingredients, specialty ingredients and consumer products every year. Drawing on generations of dairy expertise, Fonterra is one of the largest investors in dairy based research and innovation in the world. Our 16,000 staff work across the dairy spectrum from advising farmers on sustainable farming and milk production, to ensuring we live up to exacting quality standards and delivering every day on our customer promise in more than 100 markets around the world.

Media Contact:
Fonterra Communications
Phone: +64 21 507 072

SOURCE Fonterra