Announcing the news at the firm's equivalent 2011 meeting in Whangerei yesterday, Van der Heyden (pictured) said the board had put a process in place two years ago to appoint a new CEO and identify its next chairman.
He said: "I stood for another term because it was important we had stability through the transition to a new CEO. That has gone very smoothly and a year from now our new CEO, Theo Spierings, will be into his second year. Then it will be time for a new chairman."
A Fonterra board member since the company's formation 10 years ago, Van der Heyden has been chairman since 2002.
Van der Heyden also announced that Sir Ralph Norris (currently CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia) will be appointed to Fonterra's board next year.