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Cambridge Farmer To Challenge For Seat On Fontera Board

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Cambridge Farmer To Challenge For Seat On Fontera Board

Cambridge dairy farmer, businessman and former Hamilton Mayor Russ Rimmington today confirmed he is seeking a seat on the board of New Zealands largest company, Fonterra.

A dairy farmer in Matamata and Cambridge for 30 years, Mr Rimmington is challenging three sitting directors whose current terms are expiring. Other potential challengers are yet to declare their interest. Nominations for the three board vacancies of the co-operative close at noon next Thursday (September 17).

Voting packs, including information on each of the candidates, will be mailed to 10,600 shareholders on October 23. Voting closes at 10.30am on November 16, with the results announced later in the day.

Fonterras annual general meeting will be held two days later in Ashburton on November 18. Mr Rimmington describes himself as a wild card candidate, challenging for a seat in a company widely regarded as a closed shop.

Known as a strong critic of Fonterras capital restructuring proposal and public listing, he is standing to continue his advocacy for 100 percent ownership and control remaining in the hands of the shareholders. Fonterras challenge is not about the capital structure but the economic performance of the company, he says. Payout remains paramount.

This election gives shareholders the opportunity to vote new blood onto the board to ensure the company keeps its eye on the ball in the right game. He says Fonterras vision had been about being big, bold and brave but in todays environment a more prudent strategy would be for a company to be safe, smart, and secure.

Farm ownership in China, he believes, is an example of a high-risk strategy for Fonterra, requiring careful management of potential downsides. As well as farming interests, Mr Rimmington has been involved in various businesses for over 30 years including agri-business and international agri-brand marketing.

For almost 20 years until recently he also owned a steel manufacturing company in the Cook Islands. Mr Rimmington is a founding member and former president of the New Zealand Agricultural Fieldays and honoured with a life membership.

He also served for nine years as a Hamilton city councillor, one term as Mayor, as well as being chairman of a $250 million energy trust embroiled in a successful battle to save WEL Energy from falling into foreign ownership.

His current interests include being a long-standing director of a regional co-operative superannuation fund and a family property ownership company.

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