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Fonterra appoints Robert Spurway to new managing director of global operations role

Fonterra Cooperative Group has tapped Robert Spurway to head up its global operations division in a newly created role as New Zealand's dominant dairy exporter chases global ingredient sales to offset volatility in dairy prices.

Spurway is currently with the company as acting director of New Zealand operations in NZ milk products and has previously worked across the Tasman for ingredient and food manufacturer Goodman Fielder before returning to New Zealand to become Fonterra's South Island regional operations manager.

"In his new role, Robert will lead the integration of our global milk production capacity," chief executive Theo Spierings said in a statement.,"One of our top business priorities is to optimise our global ingredients sales and operations footprint, so we can better manage price volatility and increase value, while ensuring a total focus on food safety and quality, and our customers' needs."

"While our operations will remain predominantly New Zealand-based and our primary commitment is to our New Zealand farmer shareholders, it is important to have more options about what products we make and where we make them, to complement our New Zealand milk," Spierings said.

​Last month Fonterra forecast a farmgate milk payout for the coming season of $7 per kilogram of milk solids, down from a revised $8.40 kg/MS for the current season as dairy product prices have dropped 23 percent since Fonterra's board forecast a record milk payout in February. The company announced last month that it was overhauling its Latin American 50/50 joint venture with Nestle, with the New Zealand dairy exporter getting the liquids business and the Swiss group buying the milk processing plants.

Units in the Fonterra Shareholders' Fund, which gives investors exposure to the group's dividends, rose 0.7 percent to $5.99, and have gained 2.6 percent this year.

(BusinessDesk)