Shareholders in Westland Milk Products will vote next month on a package of proposed changes designed to improve its governance after the Hokitika-based co-operative last year reported a loss and offered a milk price well below those of its competitors. By: Jamie Gray
The proposals follow an extensive governance review conducted by a sub-committee of the board that included co-opted shareholders, directors and a governance consultant, Westland said.
The review was sought by shareholders at last year’s annual meeting following criticism of the then board for its performance in a year that saw a $17 million loss – and the lowest of any New Zealand dairy company payouts to shareholders.
“We believe the changes recommended will set the structure and tone of the governance of our co-operative, and better equip Westland for the opportunities and challenges ahead of us,” Westland Milk chairman Pete Morrison said in a statement.
The recommendations include a reduction in the number of Westland Board directors from 11 to eight, and a cut in the number of shareholder-elected directors from eight to five.
The eligibility criteria for all director roles has been reviewed using best practice models and benchmarking against companies similar to Westland, the co-op said.
A director “pipeline” will be developed with clear process for nurturing highly capable future Westland board directors and governance leadership.
The proposals follow an extensive governance review conducted by a sub-committee of the board that included co-opted shareholders, directors and a governance consultant.
“This was an independent, robust and highly analytical review undertaken at the request of shareholders,” Morrison said.
The shareholder meeting will be held on October 5.
Westland, New Zealand’s second largest dairy co-operative after Fonterra, is forecasting a net payout range, after retentions, of between $6.40 and $6.80 per kilogram of milk solids for the current season.
Farmer shareholders received an average payout of $3.88/kgMS in the 2016 year, while in February, the milk processor was forecasting a payout of $5.30-to-$5.70/kgMS for 2017.
Source: NZ Herald