Fonterra shareholders have sent a clear message to the Fonterra board with the re-election of Leonie Guiney:
Discarded former Fonterra board member Leonie Guiney has side-stepped the official selection process to win farmer backing to regain her seat.
She will be joined by retiring Zespri chairman Peter McBride. The other candidates incumbent director Ashley Waugh, approved candidate Jamie Tuuta and independent John Nicholls failed to get the required 50% approval so another election will be held to fill the one seat still vacant.
The failure for any of these three to get the necessary 50% support indicates that many shareholders voted tactically – voting for only one or two of the successful candidates to ensure they got through.
Guiney, a Fairlie farmer and director of four farming companies served on Fonterra’s board from 2014 to 2017 but then failed to gain approval to stand again through the co-op’s selection process. McBride lives at Te Puna and has farming interests in Waikato and Bay of Plenty. He has extensive experience in the kiwifruit industry and has recently announced that he will step down as chairman of Zespri in February.
A lot of shareholders aren’t happy with the way the board controls who can stand and many weren’t impressed when Leonie wasn’t approved to stand again.
On top of that is the company’s performance which is causing considerable angst.
This result shows shareholders are far from happy.
The board already has a new chair and acting chief executive who have clearly signaled a need for change.
The election result gives a mandate for that and a very clear message that shareholders are looking for significant improvements.