Rob Hewett to take Farmlands chair

He will succeed long-serving chair Lachie Johnstone.
Incoming chairman Rob Hewett.

Director Rob Hewett has been named as the successor to Farmlands chairman Lachie Johnstone, who will step down from the board at the November AGM.

Mr Johnstone has been chair of the rural supplies and services co-operative since November 2003, Mr Johnstone announced fellow Director Rob Hewett will take over as Farmlands’ new Chair following the next AGM, scheduled for November.

Mr Johnstone, from Waikato, said it had been his privilege to watch Farmlands grow nationally.” It’s now a nationwide co-operative, providing all the products and services our 70,000 shareholders need to succeed in business,” he says. “We’ve created a business that has an entire value structure built on giving back to those that trust us to help them with their livelihoods.

“At the same time, I’ve been vocal about the need for a stronger pool of candidates in rural governance. My view is 18 years plus is plenty for one person with one organisation and I look forward to continuing to work with Farmlands as a shareholder, rather than a director.

Retiring chairman Lachie Johnstone.
Retiring chairman Lachie Johnstone.

Mr Johnstone joined the board of North Island-based Farmlands Trading Society Limited in November 2000 and was at the helm when it merged with South Island-based CRT Co-operative in 2013. He became the inaugural chair of the newly created Farmlands Co-operative, which last year announced revenue of $2.39b with a profit of $12.2m.

Incoming chair Rob Hewett, who stepped down as chairman of Silver Fern Farms Co-operative on May 1, paid tribute to Mr Johnstone’s legacy within Farmlands. He is also co-chair of Silver Fern Farms Ltd and remains a director of Silver Fern Farms Co-operative.

Farmlands shareholders voted to adopt a new governance structure at last year’s AGM at Hokitika, where the previous set-up of eight shareholder-elected and two independent directors was changed to six shareholder directors and three independents.

While the transition in board structure will be embedded over time, the Society’s Rules state that the chair of Farmlands must be a shareholder, elected by their peers.

Mr Johnstone will remain chairman of Wellington-based Centreport Ltd, alongside other portfolios.

This is supplied content and not commissioned or paid for by NBR.

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