Saturday, April 20, 2024

Alliance welcomes new chair as Taggart retires

Neal Wallace
Mark Wynne to assume post in constitutionally mandated changing of guard.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Alliance Group chair Murray Taggart has retired and been replaced by independent director Mark Wynne.

Taggart chaired the co-operative for 10 years and, as required under the constitution, this was his last term on the board.

He will officially step down in mid-April with Wynn’s appointment unanimously agreed to by the board. Fellow independent director Sarah Brown will become a board appointed farmer director.

“It’s been no secret that this was going to be my last term as Alliance chair,” Taggart said.

“The board has been working on a succession plan for a new chair and with new chief executive Willie Wiese in place, now is the appropriate time to pass the baton on.”

This means two of New Zealand’s largest meat companies will have new chairs this year, with Anna Nelson replacing Rob Hewett at the helm of Silver Fern Farms from May.

Taggart, a sheep, beef and arable farmer from Oxford in North Canterbury, has had two stints on the board.

He was first elected as a supplier representative between 2002-07, re-elected in 2010 and appointed chair  three years later. 

Taggart is also chair of Taumata Plantations Ltd and a director of FMG Insurance.

At last year’s annual meeting, several shareholders raised concerns about the performance of the board and Taggart in particular in light of the co-operative’s $98 million loss last year.

Taggart acknowledged last year’s difficulties, saying he had confidence in the co-operative’s resilience and ability to adapt.

“The past year has been tough for farmers and the co-operative on the back of significant weakening of prices in our global markets and high costs behind the farm gate.”

Wynn said the board remains committed to the co-operative’s long-term strategy “and in particular the changes made across the business in response to the tough trading environment”.

“These changes have highlighted significant opportunities for improvement.

“The global markets continue to be challenging,” he said. The new season has “started on a much more positive note, but there is more work to do”.

Wynne has extensive experience in agribusiness, including 20 years in the dairy industry and until last September was the chief executive of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients co-operative.

He was previously the president for South Asia for Kimberly-Clark, growing the United States multinational’s market share with brands like Kleenex and Huggies.

An experienced governor, he has served on various boards during his management career and in recent years as a director.

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