Print this page
Wednesday, 02 December 2020 06:55

Wyeth ready for the 'Coast'

Written by  Peter Burke
Richard Wyeth will take up his new role at Westland Milk Products in February 2021. Richard Wyeth will take up his new role at Westland Milk Products in February 2021.

The chief executive-elect of Yili-owned Westland Milk Products Richard Wyeth is looking forward to the challenge of running the company.

For the past 11 years, Wyeth has headed up Miraka, the highly successful Maori-owned dairy company based in Taupo.

He says he wasn’t actively looking for a change but says the opportunity to move was timely and a chance to advance his career. 

Wyeth says Westland is a really iconic company and when he went down to Hokitika for the 75th celebrations of company, he was suitably impressed.

“I was really impressed with the people on that visit. It’s a good sized business with 700 staff and it’s a real challenge to get involved. The operation is unusual in that the milk collection area extends over 600 kilometres and that is a challenge in itself. It’s phenomenal when you think of the distance that milk has to be collected and the different climatic conditions within that area,” he says.

Wyeth says his experience in dealing with China in his present role at Miraka was probably a factor in being headhunted for the role at Westland.

He’s been travelling to China for 13 years now and he finds it quite ironic that the first dairy company he visited when he went to Mongolia was Yili. 

“I have always been super impressed with Yili as a company. Their attention to detail in China is second to none,” he says.

Wyeth is under no illusions that West Coast dairy farmers have high expectations about what he might do for the company, which has struggled over the years.

His first task is to look at the strategy of the company and get a good understanding of the business before thinking about making changes. H

e says Westland has had challenges with capital structure, but this has now been resolved.

He says the milk price is also locked in.“I am looking forward to the opportunity to execute the new strategy and see how I can build the business,” he says.

Wyeth will start with Westland at the end of February and says, while he intends to base himself at the company’s office in Christchurch, he plans to spend a fair bit of time on the coast.

More like this

Critical time for dairy exports

The next three months will be critical for the primary sector as it tries to get product to key markets in the midst of a logistical crisis.

State funding to reduce emissions

Chinese-owned Westland Dairy Company is getting $1.7 million from the Government to accelerate plans to reduce carbon emissions produced by its Hokitika factory.


Ice broken on an old problem

Three enterprising Mackenzie College (Fairlie) students may well have come up with the perfect solution to an age-old problem of…

Cruel April Fool's joke!

In an ironic twist, the Government has pushed back the date of its so-called 'ute tax' or feebate scheme to…

Machinery & Products

Keeping everyone safe

As tractors get larger and front linkage kits become more common, many have started fitting underrun or collision protection systems.

Keeping stock and drivers safe

Livestock haulers are a crucial link in the New Zealand agriculture supply chain, transporting stock onto or between farms, to…

Making lamb marking easy

Designed by a sheep and beef farmer, Vetmarkers are made in New Zealand and sold around the world.