Fonterra creates super-region

A new role for Mark Wilson

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Fonterra has shed a senior manager after combining its Australia and New Zealand "region" with south-east Asia, Middle East and North Africa to form one giant business unit.

The new super region, called Asia Pacific/Middle East/Africa, will be headed by Mark Wilson, Fonterra's existing managing director of south-east Asia, Middle East and North Africa.

Hong Kong-based Mr Wilson, who joined Fonterra in 2008, has previously worked for Danone, Danish-listed East Asiatic Company and Dumex.

Fonterra's Melbourne-based Australia-New Zealand manager John Doumani will leave at the end of March.

Mr Doumani, whose family lives in Sydney, was a former "president international" of the Campbell Soup Company before he joined Fonterra in 2007.

The loss of one senior manager will be an immediate saving for Fonterra, which said in September it intends to cut costs by $60 million this year, including from its struggling Australian business.

Fonterra's communications manager Graeme McMillan told NBR ONLINE any further savings will be up to Mr Wilson.

"It's a big unit – he'll have to look through it and through the detail."

The reshuffle, announced today in a statement, is the result of a reorganisation of its consumer businesses, the dairy giant says.

"There are big growth opportunities in the emerging markets of Asia and Middle East, and some challenges to address in our home markets of Australia and New Zealand and our strategy requires us to address both," Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings says.

Under Mr Spierings, the co-operative expanded its senior management team with a greater regional focus to latch on to opportunities in emerging markets. 

Fonterra management previously operated under large silos headed up by handful of executives, and the dairy exporter wanted to reduce the complexity and potential for duplication under the existing model.

Yesterday, Fonterra announced it was opening an office in India while last week it appointed a new country manager for Myanmar.

New Zealand investors have been grumbling this week after it was revealed 42% of Fonterra's $525 million investment fund went to offshore investors.

As reported by NBR earlier today, the cooperative is taking the price risk if the units increase in value.

Fonterra's board has proposed a 1% pay rise, which will be considered at next month's annual meeting.

– additional reporting by BusinessDesk

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