Leadership change as Fonterra considers divesting its Australian business

Fonterra Co-operative Group has announced it is exploring full or partial divestment options for some or all of its global consumer and integrated businesses, including Fonterra Oceania.

Under the considered divestment, the cooperative would focus on being a B2B dairy nutrition provider, working with customers through its ingredient and foodservice channels.

Chairman Peter McBride says this is a significant move for the cooperative which will set it up to grow long-term value for farmer shareholders and unit holders. 

“We have conducted a strategic review which has reinforced the role of our core business. This is working alongside farmers to collect a sustainable supply of milk and efficiently manufacture products valued by customers, to deliver strong returns to farmer shareholders and unit holders.”

Miles Hurrell, CEO, says the review has also given the cooperative confidence in the role it plays in the dairy nutrition value chain, with one of its greatest strengths being the production of world-class, innovative ingredients for customers to take to consumers.

“We believe we can grow further value for the Co-op by focusing on being a B2B dairy nutrition provider, working closely with customers through our high-performing Ingredients and Foodservice channels. 

“This will be enabled by strong relationships with farmers, a flexible manufacturing and supply chain footprint, deeper partnerships with strategic ingredients customers, further investment in our Foodservice channel, continued delivery on our sustainability commitments and investment in innovation,” said Hurrell.

The change in the strategic direction has prompted Judith Swales, Global Markets CEO, to leave the cooperative.

“Judith has been an important part of Fonterra since 2013, having started her time in our Australian business. She has held a variety of significant leadership roles across the Co-op and has been a critical part of the Fonterra Management Team.

“She is a high-performing executive with achievements including the standing up of our Global Markets region, which is currently performing very well; the successful turnaround in the performance of our Consumer business, putting it on a pathway for a stronger future with some of the world’s most trusted and loved dairy brands; and leading our Velocity transformation programme,” said Hurrell.

Hurrell thanked Swales for her contribution to Fonterra. Swales will remain with Fonterra until 31 July 2024.

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