Taranaki's newest member of the Fonterra Shareholders' Council is looking forward to the first meeting at the end of this month.
Pihama dairy farmer Rob Poole displaced Shona Glentworth from the council during last year's elections. He will join four other Taranaki farmers - Nick Barrett, Kevin Turnbull, Noel Caskey and David Werder - on the 35-member council.
Poole's long-time interest in governance began when he was chairman of the Pihama School Board of Trustees. The school was one of several that merged with Auroa School, where he was also a board of trustees member.
He said undertaking Fonterra's governance development programme had helped him understand the complexities and challenges of governance, Fonterra's global strategy, and its key performance indicators and benchmarks.
Poole is involved with the Massey, Lincoln and Otago universities' joint Food and Agribusiness Marketing Experience programme and is a director of New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay.
"As you learn more, it generates a desire to do more because you enjoy the stimulation. Decisions you make can have far-reaching effects, which are not often understood until you're further down the track."
Poole said the council's continued monitoring of Fonterra's new capital structure, Trading Among Farmers, particularly of the size of the fund, would ensure its success.
Looking to the future, he's keen to see Fonterra continue to pursue its strategy offshore and wants the board to scrutinise it to ensure money it generates comes back to farmers.
He said it was important farmers understood and supported the strategy.
Glentworth said the main focus of the council during her membership was the development of TAF.
She thought collectively, Fonterra could be proud of its implementation of TAF.
The council must continue to monitor TAF and to ensure the checks and balances put in place worked properly.
Still facing the council was the co- operative's governance review.
"It's important that Fonterra has a governance and representation structure centred on growing the business, - provided the benefits flow to farmers - and maintaining a strong co-operative with robust links with farmers," she said.
"We need to look inwards and outwards to grow the business and to maintain shareholder support."
Now that she is no longer on the council, Glentworth will focus on her New Plymouth management consulting and training business, Implement and Associates.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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