Fonterra taps China boss Kelvin Wickham for new global ingredients role

Kelvin Wickham

Fonterra Cooperative Group [NZX:FCG] has tapped the president of its China operations, Kelvin Wickham, to head up the newly created global ingredients while Johan Priem will take over his previous role.

Wickham will become managing director of global ingredients which oversees "the sale of all ingredients globally, delivering solutions to our global accounts, tactical optimisation of demand and supply and managing the NZMP brand," the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Priem will take over as president of Greater China, leaving the office of the chief executive. Both start their new roles on Aug. 1.

"Driving a focused international ingredients business is part of Kelvin's DNA," said chief executive Theo Spierings. "Our China business is very important to us and a seamless transition is a priority."

Last August, Fonterra sparked a world wide recall after it quarantined several batches of whey protein concentrate on concern it was contaminated with a potentially dangerous strain of clostridium bacteria, capable of causing botulism. The strain was ultimately shown to be harmless. Of the eight customers affected by the recall the dairy exporter has agreed to a commercial outcome with all of them except French dairy giant Danone, which has also dumped the company as an ingredients supplier.

Wickham oversaw the launch of the GlobalDairyTrade platform, during his time as the company's managing director of global trade. He has also directed sales and operations planning from 2005 to 2007. Priem has worked across the globe for branded consumer businesses, Fonterra said.

The latest reshuffle comes after Robert Spurway was last week tapped to head up its global operations division in a newly created role as Fonterra 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 product.

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.

(BusinessDesk)

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