Canterbury farmer John Nicholls last month became the second farmer-nominated candidate to win a seat on Fonterra’s board.
Gent told Rural News that he gave the Fonterra board “a big tick” for the decision.
The co-op announced earlier this month that it was recommending KPMG be appointed its new auditor from July 31, 2020; shareholder approval will be sought at the co-op’s annual meeting in November next year.
“Fonterra’s current audit agreement with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) concludes at the completion of the FY19 financial statements,” the co-op says.
At the co-op’s annual meeting in south Waikato on November 8 this year, Gent opposed the resolution to re-elect PwC as auditor for another year.
Gent told the meeting that he felt the relationship between PwC and Fonterra had “become too close”. He says it was time to look at new auditors. Gent also noted that several PwC executives have ended up on the Fonterra board.
Farmer-elected director Brent Goldsack was a partner in PwC for more than 12 years, and appointed director Bruce Hassall had a 35-year career at PwC, including seven years as chief executive of its NZ practice.
Gent says PwC has been Fonterra’s auditor since its inception. “That’s a very long time and it’s time to change the auditor.”