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Fonterra's director of research, science and technology has been elected president of the International Dairy Federation.
Dr Hill, who replaces Richard Doyle, was elected yesterday at the IDF's World Dairy Summit in South Africa.
The IDF bills itself as a "non-profit private sector organisation representing the interests of various stakeholders in dairying at the international level".
It is made up of "national committees", and Dr Hill has until now been president of the New Zealand committee.
The IDF says he has "significant experience in the management of large infrastructure and organisations".
Dr Hill earned his PhD from Hull University in the UK in 1987 and joined the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute as a scientist in 1991, eventually becoming the deputy chief executive in 2000.
It became the Fonterra Research Centre in 2001, when the co-operative was formed, and Dr Hill was made its general manager.
He was also previously general manager of research and development at Livestock Improvement.