Fonterra said its chief financial officer (CFO) Neil Beaumont is leaving the co-operative after less than a year in the job.
Simon Till, who has most recently held the role of Fonterra’s director of capital markets, will take up the position of acting CFO while recruitment for a permanent replacement is under way, Fonterra said in a short statement.
Beaumont joined the co-operative in February this year. His last day will be on November 3, Fonterra said.
Beaumont is an accomplished group CFO.
Before joining Fonterra, he was senior managing director, chief financial and risk officer at Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, with responsibility for leading the operations, finance and risk functions for the CAD$500 billion ($619.25b) investment fund.
He had previously held senior roles at BHP Billiton in Chile and Australia and at KPMG.
Last month, the co-op reported a 170 per cent lift in net profit to a record $1.6 billion, driven by strong margins in its cheese and protein portfolios.
Excluding a net gain from divestments of $248 million, the co-op’s normalised profit after tax was $1.329b, up $738m compared with the same time last year, and ahead of market expectations of $1.2b.
The co-op also reported a return on capital for the 12 months to July 31 of 12.4 per cent, up from 6.8 per cent in the previous comparable period.
At balance date, Fonterra’s debt-to-Ebitda ratio stood at 29 per cent, down from 42 per cent last year, and well down from 50 per cent in 2019.
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Units in the Fonterra Shareholders Fund last traded at $3.10, up one cent.
The units have gained 3.7 per cent over the last 12 months, while the sharemarket overall has weakened sharply over the same period.
Fonterra is a cooperative owned by around 8000 dairy farmers. Those spoken to by the Herald said news of Beaumont’s departure had come out of the blue.
Shareholders’ watchdog, the Fonterra Cooperative Council, would “certainly be asking questions”, said chairman John Stevenson.
Fonterra’s annual meeting is on November 9.
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