Press Releases Pete Morrison elected new Chair of Westland Milk Products
Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second biggest dairy co-operative, has a new Chairman, farmer and businessman Peter (Pete) Morrison.
Morrison has been a Westland Milk Products Shareholder since the creation of the co-operative as an independent dairy company in 2001, supplying milk from farm properties in Canterbury and the West Coast. He was first elected to the Board by shareholders in 2015. His election as Chairman follows the resignation of Matt O’Regan (announced in November 2016) after serving seven years in the role.
Morrison acknowledged that Westland had performed poorly in the previous financial year and that its payout was, then, below the break-even line for shareholders and less than competitive compared with those of other New Zealand companies. However he noted the payout was on the way back up again and, while it would take more than one season to get back to a more competitive position, he was confident in the co-operative’s future.
“We have a very strong and capable new Chief Executive in Toni Brendish,” he said,” and she is backed by a very able team. The right people are there with the skills and dedication to get the job done and the Board is now putting the right governance structures in place to ensure we have a company with an exciting future. Westland will provide Shareholders with a competitive and sustainable payout,” he said.
“Toni Brendish has enacted a positive plan for change that is already producing efficiencies and considerable savings. We also have a Shareholder-led governance review underway. Together these are set to confirm Westland as a vital and viable player in the New Zealand dairy industry that will reward Shareholders for their support during this current period of development and change.”
Morrison acknowledged that while Westland was going through a period of change it was having to make some tough calls to ensure its structure and systems were right for growing the company’s future. He said the full benefits of this work will not going to be fully realised this season.
“It will be the 2017-18 season before we have got our payout back to where Shareholders need it to be,” he said, “but Shareholders will be rewarded for their patience and ongoing support. I know that they are with us on this and willing to give this Board, our managers and their teams the time we need to turn things around and build a very positive and sustainable future.”
In addition to his years as a supplier to Westland, Morrison brings extensive and varied commercial experience to the role. He has owned and operated a number of companies, mainly in agriculture but also including gold mining, manufacturing, forestry, aviation and a mechanical workshop; and director (and major shareholder) for computer company EStar Online, which facilitates online sales for such companies as Briscoes and Country Road.
For further inquiries contact:
Steve Attwood – Communications Manager
DDI: 03 – 943 0580
C: 027 419 1080