Fonterra manager resigns

Maury Leyland has been with the co-operative for 11 years.

Fonterra’s [NZX: FCG] managing director of people, culture and, safety Maury Leyland has resigned citing “personal reasons.”

Ms Leyland has been with the co-operative for 11 years where, as well as managing people, culture and safety, she worked on launching the Shareholders Fund and helped in developing the co-op's "V3" strategy, involving a focus on volume, value and velocity.

Ms Leyland worked closely on the WPC80 precautionary recall, in which some whey protein was mistakenly thought to be contaminated with botulism, as spokeswoman and lead of the co-operative’s response.

More recently, Ms Leyland led the response to the 1080 blackmail attempt, involving a threat to contaminate dairy products with the pest control poison.

Before joining Fonterra, she spent nine years with the Boston Consulting Group. 

She was also on the board of Spark NZ [NZX: SPK] until February last year.  

Fonterra’s chief executive, Theo Spierings, says the process of appointing Ms Leyland's successor is under way.

Her resignation is effective March 31.

Last year, Fonterra laid off 835 staff as it restructured the business after drafting in corporate consulting firm McKinsey & Co for advice on creating a leaner business and this month said it was looking to shut its Kaikoura cheese factory, where 30 people are employed.

The resignation follows Fonterra this week slashing its forecast farmgate milk price to $3.90kg/MS this season, down from $4.15, with chief executive Theo Spierings saying prices will most likely be low until the end of this year.  

Earlier this week, the co-operative's chief financial officer Lukas Paravicini emphasised the “strength of the co-operative.”

“Let me be absolutely clear, Fonterra is an absolutely sound business,” Mr Paravicini said.

[Editor's note: This report has been corrected to note Ms Leyland is no longer a director of Spark.]

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