Wednesday, 01 May 2024 09:02

Penno's 25-year leadership role over

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
John Penno John Penno

Troubled milk processor Synlait’s co-founder John Penno has stepped down from the board.

The departure of Penno, a board-appointed director, ends a 25-year leadership role within the listed company, which is struggling to reduce debt and sell off under-utilised processing capability. Synlait’s share price has dropped to 50c, valuing the company at just over $100 million.

Synlait has also appointed a new chairman, George Adams, who joined the board in March this year. Acting chair Paul McGilvary will resume his role as an independent director.

In a statement to NZX, Synlait says Penno’s resignation is effective immediately.

Penno says he supports Adam’s appointment as chair and “remain committed to Synlait’s future as a co-founder and shareholder”.

“Synlait has come a long way since we co-founded the company buying a farm in Te Pirita near Dunsandel almost 25 years ago. We now take world-class nutrition products to the world and have played a disruptive role in the growth of the New Zealand dairy industry. I am proud of what we have achieved. However, now is the right time for me to leave my leadership role with Synlait.”

McGilvary says Penno has lived and breathed Synlait for almost 25 years.

“He leaves a strong legacy, which has formed the basis of Synlait’s entrepreneurial nature and spirit to do milk differently for a healthier world. On behalf of the Board, our staff, our farmers, and all stakeholders I would like to publicly thank John for his commitment and enormous contribution to Synlait.”

Penno co-founded Synlait and was managing director and CEO for 12 years. In 2018, he became a board appointed director, during which time he was temporarily appointed acting CEO and then chair.

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