Sir Henry said Mr Ferrier had indicated some time ago that he wanted to move on by the end of 2011. But at the same time he had made it very clear that his first priority was to do what was right for the business.
“As a result, Fonterra and the Board are well prepared for a smooth transition to a new CEO,” Sir Henry said.
“Andrew has devoted eight years to building Fonterra into a highly successful co-operative delivering great results for its farmer shareholders and New Zealand. In 2003 Andrew inherited nearly 20,000 people that made up Fonterra and has single-mindedly moulded them into a world class team, working to a clear strategy and with a real sense of purpose. Fonterra has never been in better shape, and that is a credit to Andrew’s leadership.
“Andrew has always placed great emphasis on finding the right people, building a strong team, and on succession planning,” Sir Henry said. “He has always wanted a planned and orderly transition to a new leader and we are particularly grateful for the flexibility he has shown the Board.”
Sir Henry said that the Board would be considering internal and external candidates. The assessment and development of internal candidates had commenced nearly two years ago and an international search was put in place at the end of last year.
“It is possible that we will have identified a suitable candidate by the second half of this year but Andrew is committed to continuing in his role until we have found the right person.”
Mr Ferrier said that, with Fonterra in good shape, it provided the right opportunity for the transition. He said that he intended to continue living in New Zealand after he left Fonterra, but wanted the flexibility to spend a little more time with family, including in his homeland Canada.
“I have always thought that a successful CEO should build a culture and capability in an organisation, to ensure that it continues to improve when you move on,” Mr Ferrier said. “Fonterra is a great co-operative and, when I leave, I will have absolute confidence in it becoming even stronger in the future.
“I have had 17 years as a CEO, including eight years at Fonterra, and I am looking forward to more flexibility in my life, spending more time with my family, and choosing from a number of business interests that are available to me.”
Sir Henry said that neither he nor Andrew would be making any further comment on the transition until the new CEO had been identified. “As far as we are both concerned, it is business as usual.”
About FonterraFonterra 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 tonnes 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.