Agropur president to step down after 25 years spent bolstering Canadian dairy sector

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags United states

During Riendeau's 25-year career at Agropur, he spent nearly 15 years serving as president of the cooperative's board of directors.
During Riendeau's 25-year career at Agropur, he spent nearly 15 years serving as president of the cooperative's board of directors.
Serge Riendeau announced that he will be stepping down as president of Agropur’s board of directors on Feb. 8, 2017 after 25 years with the cooperative. 

A replacement will be chosen through an election procedure starting in November and concluding in February at Agropur’s Annual Meeting, Agropur vice president of communications, Véronique Boileau, told DairyReporter.

"I feel satisfied with the job I have done and I am confident that Agropur is in excellent shape to continue its development,"​ Riendeau said.

"The board's duty to secure its future is a vital and stimulating responsibility. Personally, I poured my heart and soul into achieving our objectives, serving our owner-members and advancing the organization."

Following his departure from Agropur, Riendeau will be working on his 700-acre dairy farm, Riendeau et Gendron Inc., located between Quebec and the US border.

Growth under Riendeau

According to the cooperative, Riendeau played a central role in establishing a national strategy that supports Canadian milk ingredients and serves the interests of consumers, producers, the industry and members.

During Riendeau's time as president (2002-2016), Agropur's annual sales grew from $1.4bn to $4.6bn USD, making it one of the world's 20 largest dairy processors. Riendeau strongly supported Agropur's drive for sustainable growth, notably the string of mergers and acquisitions and series of major investments in facilities by which Agropur consolidated ownership of processing assets in the hands of Canadian dairy producers.

It was also under Riendeau that the cooperative became one of the largest processors in North America by expanding into the US, the second-largest consumer of cheese after the European Union, and third biggest fluid milk consumer, according to the USDA.

He was also the leader of multiple initiatives to advance Canada's dairy industry, including most recently the decision to temporarily halt imports of diafiltered milk. The national stop-gap solution of imports of diafiltered milk, which lasted three months, was part of Canada’s national ingredients strategy to encourage the use of Canadian milk.

"While the interim national program is temporary, its creation is good news since it makes it possible for us to stop using imported diafiltered milk while remaining competitive and supporting our members and all Canadian milk producers,”​ Riendeau said in May 2016.

Agropur is comprised of 3,367 members and 8,000 employees and has grown to be the largest dairy producer in Canada and the fifth largest in North America, processing 1.5bn gallons (5.7bn liters) of milk a year at its 39 plants across North America. 

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