Fonterra's chairman-elect says he wasn’t eyeing the chairmanship when he stood for board elections in 2018.
He told about 130 shareholders at the co-op’s annual meeting in Invercargill last week that there is a lot of commentary on “the Beingmates and China Farms, so it’s important to bring some balance to those conversations”.
“We have a milk price that is consistently on par with our peers in Europe and the US. We should be incredibly proud of that milk price.
“It doesn’t just fall from the sky. We work to deliver it every day and it benefits every New Zealand farmer, rural community and our national economy.”
But Monaghan says the co-op needs to change: to take the best things from the past and adapt them for the future.
He says the co-op has also learnt to listen more to its farmer shareholders and other stakeholders.
“When we listened to our farmers, unit holders, customers, partners and other stakeholders, they told us they wanted to be part of our co-op, but we needed to show up differently.
“I hope you’ve seen change in the way we communicate with you. Doing more listening than talking, and taking what I call ‘the shine’ off our language has improved the standing of our co-op in many people’s minds.
“Our new purpose is already guiding our decisionmaking, culture and behaviour as an organisation.”
Monaghan urged shareholders to judge the board by its actions more than its words.
“When you look at our key milestones for the year, you see a co-op doing what it said it would.
“Last year I was humbled to stand up at the annual meeting for the first time as your chairman. We signalled that day that there would be fundamental change in the co-op and you wouldn’t die wondering. We have delivered on that commitment.”