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Theo Spierings to leave Fonterra CEO this year

Wednesday 21st March 2018

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Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings will vacate the position in the course of this year, the cooperative's chair, John Wilson announced.

Speaking at the end of a presentation on its first-half results, Wilson said the board had started a global search for a new chief executive late last year and the board had decided to bring forward the announcement of Spierings's departure after some seven years in the role.

"It's normal succession planning. It's maybe a bit earlier and a bit awkward for myself as well," said Spierings. The announcement comes after growing speculation that he or Wilson would face pressure to resign because of the poor performance of the cooperative's 18.8 percent investment in Chinese infant milk formula company Beingmate.

Spierings said five to seven years was a normal period of tenure. Of the future, he said: "I would like to focus on a better world than a bigger job."

Wilson said the decision was not a reaction to the cooperative's performance, saying "Theo has delivered extraordinary value". 

Spierings would continue in the role until a new chief executive was appointed and was likely to continue in a consulting role during the handover process.


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