Fonterra has moved quickly to quash speculation chief executive Theo Spierings is leaving the company.
‘Any speculation about Theo’s position is completely untrue. End of story,’ the company tweeted on Monday morning.
Fonterra is generally slow to make public statements about reports on its affairs.
However, a report in The Australian that Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon was lined up to replace Mr Spierings sparked it into action.
The report tied Mr Spierings’ departure to the weak performance of its Australian arm and may have been triggered by criticism both Fonterra and Murray Goulburn have faced in cutting their forecast milk payouts to Australian farmers.
Murray Goulburn chief executive Gary Helou recently stepped down after the Australian dairy cooperative cut its profit guidance.
‘There is no substance to the rumour,’ a Fonterra spokesman said. ‘Our response is absolutely and categorically no.’
Mr Spierings has been chief executive at New Zealand’s biggest exporter since 2011 but the co-operative has been under pressure in recent times with low milk prices.