Federated Farmers due to name new CEO soon

GERARD HUTCHING
Last updated 08:04 15/05/2014
Conor English
Fairfax NZ
END OF AN ERA: Outgoing Federated Farmers chief executive Conor English.

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The naming of a new Federated Farmers chief executive is imminent.

Present chief executive Conor English is to step down on July 23 after six years in the job. Sources in the industry say the Feds are in the final process of negotiation, and the new person should be named in the next few days.

Other than to confirm that the new boss will be a male and is probably Australasian, Federated Farmers is tightlipped about English's successor.

After almost 10 years of service to the organisation in two separate stints, English will be a hard act to follow.

He has gained plaudits for his solid performance as an effective advocate, and for rejuvenating the management structure of the organisation. His extensive contacts in the corridors of power have also been handy assets.

Significant achievements during English's tenure include the creation of the Farmy Army during the Canterbury earthquakes, and the response to the Southland snowstorms of 2010 and last summer's drought.

Climate change policy, water quality issues, local government and Resource Management Act reform have been at the forefront of the federation's work during his time.

Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills confirmed the federation was close to settling on a new CEO.

"We're looking for someone who's got a broad range of skills. Farming is critical to the New Zealand economy, so we need someone who can work well with our farmer members and take their concerns to our leaders in the Beehive.

"As well as having to work in with members up and down the country, the CEO has 65 staff to lead.

"We are in the lucky position that Conor has agreed to stay with us till July if we need him, so it means we don't have to rush the decision," Wills said.

Fish & Game chief executive Bryce Johnson said he looked forward to a positive relationship with the new CEO.

"In recent years there has been a lot of opinion building debate about a need for farming to be put on an environmentally sustainable footing. We'll be looking forward to someone who is prepared to push that debate forward."

Also in July Federated Farmers will be electing a new president to replace Wills.

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- The Dominion Post

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