Miraka is owned by a group of Maori trusts and sources milk from more than 100 farms in the Central North Island region.
Mr Watson’s appointment, which he takes up in February, marked another chapter in the company’s history, board chairman Kingi Smiler said.
Mr Watson had held senior executive roles for the past 16 years, and recently led the significant growth of Fonterra’s global food service business, a position he held since 2015, Mr Smiler said.
Before that, he was the director of Tip Top and a former chief operating officer for McDonald’s New Zealand. He was also a past winner of the New Zealand young executive of the year.
Nominations to a national award for dairy farmers who demonstrate innovation and passion in their approach to sustainable dairying are open until March 20.
The Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award was introduced by the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards to recognise dairy farmers respected by their farming peers and their community for their attitude and role in sustainable dairying.
Industry awards general manager Robin Congdon said it was important to showcase the good work farmers were doing as it did not always get the exposure it deserved.
‘‘We have excellent, experienced dairy farmers creating and working on wonderful projects that have a positive effect on the environment.
‘‘We want to hear about the people who are farming responsibly, both environmentally and socially, and showcasing excellence on a daily basis.’’
Mr Congdon said 366 entries from 11 regions had been received for the 2021 dairy industry awards.
Waikato had the most entries (66) followed by Canterbury-North Otago (54) and then Southland-Otago (39).
The national final will be held in Hamilton next year and the winner will be announced on May 15.