Fonterra executive Robert Spurway has been tapped as the next chief executive of GrainCorp and will helm the company as it navigates the twin challenges of drought and cementing the business after it demerges its malt operations.
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Incoming GrainCorp chief executive Robert Spurway will guide the company through a transition phase.

New Zealand-based Mr Spurway has been chief operating officer of Fonterra’s global operations for the past six years and was selected by GrainCorp after a local and international headhunt conducted over about six months.
“Robert was the standout candidate in both our local and international search,” said GrainCorp chairman Graham Bradley.
“He is an Australian, he was keen to return to Australia and the timing has turned out sweetly,” he said.
Mr Spurway’s departure from New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra was announced months ago, and he is finishing up in the role in mid-March. GrainCorp, which is pushing ahead with plans to demerge its malt business, expects the demerger to be completed in late March or early April.
Mr Bradley also addressed speculation that GrainCorp’s malt business could be sold rather than demerged.
The malt business as a stand-alone company will be highly attractive to a range of investors who have not invested in GrainCorp in the past.
Graham Bradley, GrainCorp chairman
“I think it’s highly unlikely that we would receive an offer that would be sufficiently attractive to deter us from our current course and strategy,” Mr Bradley said.
“We think that the malt business as a stand-alone company will be highly attractive to a range of investors who have not invested in GrainCorp in the past, because of the inherent volatility of the grains business. And they will be global investors, we will be the largest listed maltster in the world and light years ahead of any other in scale and in profitability,” he said.
The current CEO of GrainCorp, Mark Palmquist, will become CEO of the spun-off, ASX-listed malt business, should the demerger come to fruition.
Before working for Fonterra in New Zealand, Mr Spurway had worked in senior roles in food companies in Australia, including at Goodman Fielder Australia and Mrs Crocket’s Kitchen.
“I’m delighted to be joining GrainCorp as the next chief executive officer at an exciting time for the company. GrainCorp is an iconic Australian agribusiness with a long and rich history,” Mr Spurway said.
“I’m looking forward to playing a key role in GrainCorp’s journey as it continues to strengthen its supply chains and deliver for its extensive network of growers and other customers,” he said.
Mr Spurway will receive total fixed remuneration, including superannuation benefits, of $950,000.
Also on Wednesday, GrainCorp announced the appointment of two new non-executive directors to its board, Jane McAloon and Kathy Grigg.

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