Former Fonterra boss had $8m goodbye

As Fonterra's farm owners brace for a payout squeeze and flat 2012 revenue, the dairy giant has revealed it gave former chief executive Andrew Ferrier a $8.2 million farewell handshake.

The Canadian, who has remained living in Auckland, left this time last year after eight years heading New Zealand's biggest company.

Mr Ferrier was paid between $4.9 million and $5m, according to the 2011 annual report. Chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden, during a presentation of the company's 2012 annual result in Auckland yesterday, confirmed an $8.2 million payment during the year had been to Ferrier.

The payout appears to be the second highest on the New Zealand corporate record books. Recently departed Telecom chief executive Paul Reynolds was paid $13 million in shares and cash.

In comparison, former managing director of PGG Wrightson, Tim Miles, received $4.318m when he left the rural services company in October 2010.

And Jonathan Ling, chief executive of the country's largest listed company, Fletcher Building, will receive "no great settlement" when he leaves on September 30.

After working as chief executive for six years, Mr Ling is set to get an undisclosed special short-term incentive, on top of his base executive remuneration.

Sir Henry said Mr Ferrier's payout was made up mainly of "payments for long-term and short-term incentives".

"I know it's a lot of money but the core of any fundamental payment to our management is based on performance, so this is a washup of long-term and short-term incentives."

Fonterra structured executive remuneration principally on performance, he said.

Farmer watchdog Fonterra Shareholder Council chairman Ian Brown said it was "a lot of money" but was a matter between Mr Ferrier and the board. The council represents Fonterra's 10,500 farmer shareholders.

Mr Ferrier, who formed investment company CANZ Capital with his wife, has since invested in healthcare software company Orion Health. Mr Ferrier is a director of the company.

In July he was appointed chairman of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the Government's economic development agency.

Waikato Times