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Fonterra board starts planning chair succession

Friday 20th September 2019

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Fonterra Cooperative Group's board has started thinking about who should lead the country's dominant dairy processor through its new strategy, but that won't necessarily see John Monaghan leave. 

Independent director Simon Israel will step down from the board at this year's annual meeting in November, and with chair Monaghan scheduled to retire by rotation in 2020, Fonterra's directors will start work on who will oversee the new direction. 

"Having seen through the introduction of our new strategy, operating model, and with our divestment and debt reduction efforts well progressed, I will be working with the board in 2020 to facilitate chair succession," Monaghan said. "The timeline for that succession will be agreed by the board nearer to the time."  

Mongahan is a farmer-elected director and joined the board in 2008. He was last re-elected in 2017 and took over as chair last year when John Wilson retired due to ill health. 

A Fonterra spokesman said there is no indication whether Monaghan will retire or seek re-election, but a conversation about the different options is underway. "The outcome definitely should not read to you that he is retiring and walking away," he said. 

Fonterra said Israel’s decision to leave is part of a planned succession and the need to phase the refresh of the cooperative’s independent directors. 

He was appointed in 2013 and is currently a member of Fonterra’s appointments and remuneration committee.

Based in Singapore, Israel has contributed valuable insights from his 39 years of business experience in Asia, Fonterra said. He is currently the chairman of Singapore Telecommunications and chairman of Singapore Post.  

Monaghan said Israel had been a "real asset" to the board during this six-year term.

A replacement for Israel will be brought onto the board at an appropriate time and farmer-owners would have the opportunity to ratify that appointment at the 2020 annual meeting, Fonterra said.

Directors Andy Macfarlane and Donna Smit are seeking re-election at this year's annual meeting. Pharmaceuticals executive Philipp Haas and former corporate lawyer Cathy Quinn were recommended by Fonterra's independent selection panel process.

Units in the Fonterra Shareholders' Fund last traded down 0.6 percent at $3.18. 


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