Fonterra has paid former chief executive Andrew Ferrier an $8.2 million golden handshake.
This was confirmed by outgoing chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden at today's annual report press conference in Auckland.
All up, Mr Ferrier would have grossed more than $40 million for his eight years with Fonterra.
Sir Henry told NBR ONLINE the $8.2 million payment is based on the company's performance, such as net profit, and had very little to do with the milk price.
"It's no different to any other organisation," he says.
The payout included a "wash-up" of short-term and long-term incentives.
"Over a number of years, they were all concertinaed and paid out when he left.
"It is a lot of money, and that's why I tried to front it. It'd be the first question I'd ask."
The dairy giant's annual report, released this morning, had revealed a single employee received a "cessation" payout of between $8.22 million and $8.23 million in the 2011-12 year.
Mr Ferrier, who left the company in September 2011, was paid an annual salary of about $5 million for his last two years.
Anika Forsman, who works for Fonterra's communications arm, Baldwin Boyle Group, had earlier said the co-operative's management could not be reached to confirm Mr Ferrier was the recipient.
The report's annual statement reveals almost 4000 Fonterra employees earned more than $100,000 – 3956 in 2011-12, compared to 3502 in 2010-11.
Employees paid more than $1 million is also up, from 20 (including one cessation payment) in 2010-11, to 26 (three cessation payments) in 2011-12.
In July, it was announced Mr Ferrier will chair the board of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
The Canadian executive first came to New Zealand in 2002 from a career in the global sugar industry and led Fonterra through a formative decade before stepping down for newly appointed Dutch chief executive Theo Spierings.
Mr Ferrier became a New Zealand citizen in 2008. He will take up the three-year term at NZTE, starting in November, replacing incumbent Jon Mayson.