Reports that Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings is planning to leave his role have been quashed by the dairy giant.
“The story is completely untrue,” head of external communications GJ Thompson said on Monday morning.
The Australian reported Spierings was on the way out with Air New Zealand chief executive Christopher Luxon tipped as his replacement.
An Air New Zealand spokesperson responded to the rumours by saying “Christopher Luxon remains committed to Air New Zealand”.
Spierings is head of New Zealand’s biggest company, and said last year he would not accept an increase in his salary of over $4 million.
Farmers have been angry about Fonterra’s treatment of its contractors and suppliers, and the dairy giant has been accused of being out of touch as executives receive high salaries while farmers struggle with tumbling returns.
Federated Farmers Dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard said he had not heard anything apart from the speculation in the media about Spierings departing.
He said the talk might have had more substance if it had come from Auckland rather than Australia.
Hoggard said his gut feeling was that swapping chief executives in a downturn would not help the co-operative “unless we had a muppet of a CEO”.
He said this was not the case for Spierings, as although he had made some mistakes he had also made some good decisions for Fonterra.
The Fonterra chief executive role was a top job and if his heart was in the job he could be expected to remain for another two to three years to see the co-operative through the downturn, Hoggard said.
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