Murray Goulburn hopes new chairman will calm waters

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

John Spark
John Spark

Related tags Board of directors

John Spark has been named to replace outgoing chairman Philip Tracy at beleaguered dairy co-operative Murray Goulburn after weeks of boardroom turbulence.

Having served as chairman of Ridley Corporation, Australia’s biggest animal nutrition supplier since 2010, and as a non-executive at Newcrest Mining, Spark is a specialist in governing large and complex businesses. 

He will have his work cut out at MG, which has endured a difficult year after his predecessor retrospectively cut farm-gate milk prices. Enraged by the move, many dairy farmers successfully called for Tracy’s departure.

Adam Jenkins, president of United Dairy Farmers, said his members wanted to put all anger behind them following Spark’s appointment.

"This has been an incredibly tough 12 months for MG suppliers and the Australian industry​," he told the ABC.

"The industry has been calling for this change for over 12 months, and its been an extremely challenging period for Mr Tracy and his board. But we respect that he's stood down​.

"It'll restore confidence to MG's suppliers and we can now move forward​,” Jenkins added.

In a statement Spark said it was “a true honour​” to be head the Murray Goulburn board, and made a specific reference to the “proudly farmer-controlled​” nature ofthe co-operative.

As chairman, I look forward to playing a central role at Murray Goulburn and working closely with my fellow directors and chief executive officer, Ari Mervis, to build a stronger company for the future​,” he added.

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