West Coast farmer to exit as chairman of milk co-op

Departing Westland Milk Products chairman Matt O'Regan.
Lee Howell

Departing Westland Milk Products chairman Matt O'Regan.

West Coast farmer Matt O'Regan will step down as chairman and retire from the board of Westland Milk Products in March.

O'Regan has agreed to stay on until early next year to give the co-operative governance continuity while chief executive Toni Brendish finds her feet in her new role, and the board finds a chairman replacement..

"It is vital that Toni has the support of the existing governance structure as she settles into her role," O'Regan said.

"By the end of March she will have a very clear picture of the company, and any major changes she needs to implement to strengthen and grow Westland's commercial success. This will be the best time for her and a new chair to begin working together."

O'Regan said Westland directors agreed to the approach as it represented the best interests of the company. The strategy would provide a professional handover and gave the board time to work out its new leadership.

He said the lengthy notice period would also ensure the company could continue its focus on high added-value products to provide improved returns to Westland's farmer shareholders.

"It has been a privilege to have been chairman of Westland Milk Products for the past seven years and I remain committed to the company and to supporting Toni during the next five months," he said

O'Regan will remain a shareholder and supplier of Westland through the operation of his West Coast dairy farm.

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