A whopping 11 farmer-director hopefuls will contest three vacancies on the board of Fonterra, New Zealand’s biggest business, this year.
Two of the vacancies are created by the rotational elections of incumbents, Fonterra chairman-elect John Wilson and Nicola Shadbolt, both of whom will seek re-election.
The third vacancy was created by the sudden resignation from the board of large-scale farmer and rich lister Colin Armer, after Wilson was announced as chairman-elect to succeed Sir Henry van der Heyden.
The 11 candidates are: Blue Read, Donna Smit, Eric Ray, Grant Cochrane, Grant Rowan, Jacqueline Rowarth, Jan Marten Kingma, Lachie Cameron, Michael Spaans and the two incumbents Wilson and Shadbolt.
The candidates were confirmed after the completion of Fonterra’s CAP (candidate assessment panel) process, available each year to independently assess the capabilities, experience and qualifications of candidates to assist shareholders in making an informed vote. The CAP process is open to all director candidates, but is not compulsory.
The panel comprised three independent appointments, chairman Bill Falconer, John Spencer and Elizabeth Hickey and one representative from the Fonterra board, van der Heyden, and the Fonterra Shareholder Council, its chairman Ian Brown.
The panel’s assessments and candidate profiles will be sent to Fonterra shareholders with the voting papers on November 26.
Fonterra, a farmer-owned cooperative, has nine farmer-elected directors and four independent, appointed non-farmer directors.
Fonterra’s 10,500 shareholders can meet and question director candidates at nationwide roadshow meetings from December 3 – 7
Shareholders will vote by internet, fax or post, using the single transferable vote system. Voting runs from November 26 to 10.30am December 15.
Results will be announced at Fonterra’s annual meeting on December 17.