[5 April/Farmers Weekly]

Dairy farming leaders said communication skills and transparency were high among the qualities needed in Fonterra’s next chief executive. Federated Farmers National Dairy Section Vice-Chairman, Wayne Langford, said listening to stakeholders was a prerequisite for the new leader. Farm leaders welcomed the transition process and they were now at the short list and reference checking stage according to chairman, John Wilson. Fonterra is New Zealand’s largest export company and has a history of graduate recruitment, international postings, in-house research and development and on-the-job training. Fonterra’s Leadership Institute Director, Vikki Watson, said that the successful candidate should have a blend of skills including a high level of empathy with farmers, who can report back. She noted that engaging with the grassroots and the frontline helped chief executives frame organisational priorities.