The Governance Development Committee (GDC) is a joint Shareholders’ Council and Board initiative established in 2006 to address succession needs within Fonterra, the dairy industry and the wider rural community.
The Committee’s primary objective is to identify and develop governance acumen in future rural leaders. This is achieved primarily through operating the Governance Development Programme (GDP), which builds farmers’ skills and capability in areas including governance, leadership, strategic planning and delivery and an understanding of Fonterra’s business.
The GDC is currently chaired by Fonterra Chairman John Wilson and members include Fonterra Director John Monaghan, Shareholders' Council Chairman Duncan Coull, Councillor Matt Pepper and independent member Janine Smith.
John Wilson joined the Fonterra Board in 2003 as a farmer-elected Director and became Chairman in 2012. He is Chairman of the People, Culture and Safety Committee. He served as the inaugural Chairman of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council. John is a director of Turners & Growers Limited, and is a chartered member of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand. He is on the Executive Board of the New Zealand China Council.
John firmly believes that Fonterra’s future strength as a co-operative relies on farmers having the opportunity to move from the cowshed to the board room.
"An appreciation of the commercial experience and abilities required to make that transition are essential for any farmer who seriously wants to become a Fonterra director. Our Governance Development Programme is designed to assist those farmers wanting to develop leadership roles within the rural sector, and seeking involvement in the future governance of our Co-operative.
Alumni of the Programme are well equipped for future governance roles, given their exposure to managing complex farming businesses which are subject to the vagaries of weather, global volatility, and the need to manage a wide range of stakeholders including employees, suppliers, and regulatory authorities.”
John and his family live on their dairy farm near Te Awamutu. He jointly owns a dairy farming business based in Geraldine, South Canterbury.
Duncan Coull was elected as Chairman of the Council in July 2015 after serving as Deputy Chair since 2014. Duncan was first elected to the Council in 2010 to represent Fonterra Farmers in Otorohanga.. Duncan is a member of the Council’s Leadership Team and is one of the Council’s representatives on Fonterra’s Co-operative Relations Committee. Previously Duncan Chaired the Representation Committee and served on the Performance Committee.
“Developing future rural leaders is one of our responsibilities and is fundemental to the success of our Co-op and Industry. Fonterra needs world-class, experienced Directors on the Board if we are to continue to suceed in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. The Governance Development Development Programme is an excellent initiative for Shareholders who wish to develop their governance skills and build on their leadership capabilities.”
John Monaghan was elected to the Fonterra Board in 2008. He has extensive experience in representing Fonterra’s interests with key stakeholders both domestically and globally. John is currently Chairman of the Co-operative Relations Committee and serves on the People, Culture and Safety Committee.
He has previously served on the Risk Committee and chaired the External Relations Committee. Prior to joining the Board, John was Chairman of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council for a three-year period and also chaired the Governance Development Committee. He is also a director of Centre Port Limited and Centre Port Properties Limited, and is a trustee of the Wairarapa Irrigation Trust.
John has farming interests in the Wairarapa and Otago regions.
Matt Pepper was elected to the Shareholders’ Council in 2014 to represent Fonterra farmers in Rotorua. Matt is a member of the Co-operative Development Committee and serves on the Budget Team.
Janine has been a company director for over 20 years. She is a founding Principal of The Boardroom Practice Limited (TBPL) which specialises in boardroom practice and organisational development and change issues for boards and management. She was also acknowledged in the 2015 New Year’s Honours List receiving a MNZM for services to corporate governance. Janine is currently Chair of AsureQuality, President of the London Business School alumni Auckland chapter and a well- known judge of business awards. She has held a number of other board positions in both the public and private sector, in the arts and tertiary education sector, and was a member of the screening panel for Crown directors for over 10 years.
Janine has observed during her time with the Fonterra Governance Development programme that the participants bring different characteristics and skills to the boardroom table. These include being inherent ‘calculated’ risk takers, generally deal with ambiguity well and having enquiring minds (and opinions). She also sees that the participants take a long term view, recognise the importance of all stakeholders and understand the challenges of managing a business with a large balance sheet.