Wednesday, 16 October 2019 11:20

Farmers applaud Whineray ‘coup’

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Fraser Whineray. Fraser Whineray.

Farmers are happy with the appointment of Fraser Whineray to Fonterra’s newly created role of chief operating officer.

Whineray, chief executive of Mercury NZ, will join Fonterra early 2020. The creation of the COO role at Fonterra comes as the co-op grapples with two straight years of operating losses.

Federated Farmers Waikato president Andrew McGiven says Whineray is “a great recruitment coup” for Fonterra.

Whineray has a good track record and experience under his belt, McGiven says.

“I also hope with him accepting the position it means Fonterra still has a certain amount of credibility and respect among NZ business executives which is a positive for shareholders,” McGiven told Dairy News.

Whineray is no stranger to the dairy industry, having been a graduate of the New Zealand Dairy Board’s technical training programme. He spent time at milk processing sites and in export markets while with NZDB.

Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell says Whineray is a results-orientated New Zealand business leader.

“Fraser has demonstrated he can transform organisations to achieve growth in complex environments by a focus on innovation, customers and his team.  He is motivated to contribute to New Zealand’s export success and to drive sustainability, innovation and efficiency in business – three strengths we believe can create real value.”

Whineray says he is looking forward to returning to the dairy sector and working alongside the many dedicated people at Fonterra. 

“I am pleased to be able to continue in a role which contributes to New Zealand, and has strong, genuine relationships with many regional communities, Maori land trusts and local iwi across the country.”

Whineray has held roles at Credit Suisse, Puhoi Valley Cheese and Carter Holt Harvey. He chairs the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council.

Mercury chair Prue Flacks says the new role at Fonterra is a great opportunity for Whineray.

Share price rebounds

Fonterra's share price has rebounded since the announcement of its new strategy last month.

Last week the share price was hovering around $4.05/share; on September 23 it had dipped to $3.17/share.

Three weeks ago Fonterra announced its new strategy, focussing on its NZ milk pool and saying it will ultimately pull out of overseas milk pools.

The new strategy puts greater emphasis on extracting value rather than pursuing volume. The strategy also brings the focus squarely back to New Zealand.

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