Fonterra opts for interim CEO

By Jim Cornall contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fonterra has stopped its global CEO search to review its current portfolio and direction, and appointed its chief operating officer, Farm Source, Miles Hurrell, as interim CEO.
Fonterra has stopped its global CEO search to review its current portfolio and direction, and appointed its chief operating officer, Farm Source, Miles Hurrell, as interim CEO.

Related tags: Fonterra, Fonterra co-operative group

Fonterra Co-operative Group has announced Miles Hurrell will take over as the New Zealand cooperative’s interim chief executive with immediate effect, and the search for a new CEO will temporarily be halted.

Fonterra chairman John Monaghan said the cooperative’s board is clear that it is not best practice to have the chairman and CEO stand down at the same time, which happened recently.

“I have agreed with the board that we will stop the global CEO search while we review the cooperative’s current portfolio and direction,”​ Monaghan said.

“It’s important that we give ourselves the time to take stock of where we are as a cooperative, breathe some fresh air into the business, then determine any changes that are needed. Appointing a new CEO is the most critical decision a board will make. We will take all the time we need to find the right person.”

Track record

Mongahan said Hurrell would be able to “hit the ground running,”​ adding Hurrell has a great understanding of the business and the ability to manage large, complex business units in most of Fonterra’s global markets.

“Miles is well-respected both within our Co-operative and by our key global customers and wider stakeholders. Our CEO role requires intellect, energy and commitment. Miles brings that in spades,”​ Monaghan said.

Monaghan said the board and current CEO Theo Spierings had agreed it was the right time for him to step down as CEO. Spierings will work alongside Hurrell to ensure a smooth transition of leadership through to September 1, 2018.

Hurrell is currently Fonterra’s chief operating officer, Farm Source – the unit responsible for working directly with the cooperative’s farmer-owners. In that role, he is responsible for Fonterra’s global cooperative farming strategy, which includes farmer services and engagement, milk sourcing and the chain of 70 Farm Source rural retail stores throughout New Zealand.

Background

Hurrell first joined Fonterra in the year 2000. His 18 years’ experience in the dairy industry has spanned four continents, including roles in Europe, the US, Middle East, Africa and Russia. 

He also has a governance role with Prolesur, Falcon (China Farms), MyMilk and Global Dairy Platform.

Hurrell said, “I’ve been part of the cooperative for 18 years and understand that its true potential really comes down to its people.

“Theoleaves behind a talented leadership team that includes some of the best minds in global dairy. I’ve been privileged to be part of that group for the last four years and I’m totally confident that, by working as a team, we can deliver on the expectations New Zealand has of us.

“As a group, we haven’t always got everything right. Those lessons will be invaluable as we face up to challenges that are in front of us.”

Related topics: Manufacturers, Fonterra

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