Sam Knowles joins Synlait board

Last updated 10:24 04/07/2013

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Former Kiwibank chief executive Sam Knowles has been appointed a director of Synlait Milk prior to the planned listing of the milk processing company later this month.

Knowles will be an independent director on the board of Synlait Milk, predominantly an exporter of milk products.

Knowles completes the requirement of the company's constitution for there to be three independent directors on the board upon listing, Synlait Milk said in a statement. The other two are former Fletcher Building chief financial officer Bill Roest and chairman Graeme Milne

Last month Synlait Milk announced a $120 million initial public offer of shares. The funds raised will be to build new facilities and speed its growth.

Synlait is offering $75m of new shares and $45m of shares from existing shareholders.

Trading on the NZX will start on July 23.

Welcoming Knowles' appointment, Milne said his experience in establishing and growing Kiwibank into a significant New Zealand-owned and operated bank would be valuable to Synlait Milk as it implemented growth initiatives expected to cost about $183 million.

"Sam's knowledge of the processes and capability building required to complete a successful growth programme will be particularly beneficial for the board, senior management and the company's future," Milne said.

Since leaving Kiwibank after 10 years as founding chief executive, Knowles has become chairman of NZX-listed online accountancy services provider Xero. He is also a director of SLI Systems and TrustPower. He is also a director of Rangatira, a Wellington-based investment company trading on the unlisted exchange.

The independent directors would complement the directors nominated by the company's cornerstone shareholder, Chinese dairy player Bright Dairy, Milne said.

These were Bright Dairy's vice-president Ke Li, chief financial officer Zongbo Dong, director of strategy and research Sihang Yang, and Ruth Richardson who would be the New Zealand resident Bright Dairy-appointed director in accordance with the company's constitution.

Synlait Milk managing director and co-founder John Penno completes the board.

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