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British dairy veteran Robert Wiseman elected to Dean Foods board

By Mark Astley , 18-Feb-2013

Wiseman (pictured) still serves as a non-executive director of Müller Wiseman Dairies.
Wiseman (pictured) still serves as a non-executive director of Müller Wiseman Dairies.

US dairy giant Dean Foods has elected Robert Wiseman, the former managing director of UK dairy processor Robert Wiseman Dairies, to its Board of Directors – through which it hopes to benefit from Wiseman’s “deep dairy experience.”

Dallas-based Dean Foods has voiced its delight in the appointment of Wiseman, which it hopes will help to “drive value” in its surviving Fresh Dairy Direct business.

In January 2013, Dean Foods completed the $1.45bn sale of its Morningstar business to Canadian dairy giant Saputo. Prior to this, it also sold a 12% stake of its WhiteWave organic foods business through an initial public offering (IPO).

Speaking with DairyReporter.com, a spokesperson for Dean Foods revealed that the firm hopes to gain from Wiseman’s thirty-plus years of fresh milk industry experience.

“Dean Foods and the Board of Directors values Mr Wiseman’s deep dairy experience and looks forward to his contributions to our business,” said the spokesperson.

Local dairy to processing giant

Wiseman has been credited with helping to build Robert Wiseman Dairies up from a local dairy company to one of the Britain’s largest fresh milk processors.

He and his brother Alan were handed control of the business by their father – also Robert – in 1976. Under their guidance, Robert Wiseman Dairies was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1994.

More recently, Wiseman completed the sale of the company to German dairy giant, Müller. He currently serves as a non-executive director of the merged business, Müller Wiseman Dairies.

DairyReporter.com approached Müller Wiseman Dairies regarding Wiseman’s appointment at Dean Foods. It declined to comment on his election.

“This is a personal issue for Robert and not really one for us to comment on,” said Müller Wiseman Dairies.

“Breadth and depth” of dairy experience

commenting on the election, Dean Foods CEO and chairman of the board Gregg Tanner praised Wiseman’s “business experience."

“We are thrilled that Robert has agreed to join the Dean Foods Board,” said Tanner.

“The breadth and depth of his business experience in the dairy industry will strengthen the Board’s ability to guide Dean Foods to continue to be a leading food and beverage company.”

“With the sale of Morningstar and the pending spin-off of the WhiteWave Foods Company, Robert’s success in leading strategic business transformations will help Dean Foods focus on driving value in our core business to build on the success of 2012,” Tanner added.

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