Tuesday, 19 September 2017 10:55

Guiney dumped by Fonterra board

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Leonie Guiney. Leonie Guiney.

Fonterra director Leonie Guiney is crying foul after the board blocked her from the upcoming director election.

The Fairlie farmer, a staunch supporter of 100% farmer control and ownership, was not recommended as one of three candidates by the independent selection panel and a board nominations sub-committee.

And changes last year to Fonterra’s governance and representation prevent Guiney from nominating herself as a candidate for election.

Guiney told Rural News there seems to be confusion about options to self-nominate.

“I was available for re-election via the independent nomination process; the board’s view is that once you start in their process for endorsement, you can’t then go directly to shareholders even if you have been eliminated early in the independent nomination panel process.”

Guiney says she’s disappointed to miss out.

“I think I was a necessary antidote to ‘group think’ on that board; I was a constant reminder of who the cooperative owners are and the supply strength that could come from trusting them more. I believe some on the board found this uncomfortable.”

Fonterra refuse to comment on Guiney’s claims, saying it respects the integrity and confidential nature of the election process.

Guiney was voted in by Fonterra shareholders in 2014, replacing retiring Jim van der Poel.

Last October, Fonterra shareholders voted in new rules on the nomination and election of directors.

The independent selection panel -- Alison Paterson, chair; John Spencer, board nominee; and Tony Carter, shareholders council nominee – made recommendations to the board and council after interviewing candidates.

The panel this month nominated as its candidates the sitting director John Monaghan, agribusiness leader Andy Macfarlane and PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Brent Goldsack.

Three directors retired by rotation this year, and Taranaki Regional Council chairman David MacLeod decided to retire after serving six years.

The self-nomination process, whereby a farmer may stand as a candidate with the support of 35 shareholders, is now open; nominations close Thursday (September 21).

The full list of candidates will be announced on September 25.


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