Alumni Biographies 2006-2007
Since 2013, Michael Spaans has sat on the Fonterra Board and serves on the Milk Price Panel and Co-operative Relations Committee. He was a member of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council since its formation in 2001 until 2008 during which he held a number of leadership positions and represented Council on two Fonterra Board committees.
Michael is a director of ASB Bank and DairyNZ, as well as Shoof International Limited, a privately owned company that imports, exports, manufactures and distributes an extensive range of animal handling and care products for farmers and veterinary in New Zealand, Australia, Chile and China.
Previous positions included Chairman of the Animal Breeding Services Limited (2008 – 2013) and Waikato Innovation Park Ltd (2007 - 2014). He has held directorships in OSPRI New Zealand Ltd (2012 – 2014), and was a director of Manuka SA (Chile) which supplies milk to Fonterra’s subsidiary Soprole SA.
Michael has been a dairy farmer since 1984. Married to Kristina he has 3 children and owns a 500 cow dairy farm near Te Aroha. The family business also includes farming interests in Chile, Canterbury NZ and Missouri USA.
I have considerable governance experience in agriculture and more specifically within the dairy sector since I began my involvement with irrigation and dairy farming in Canterbury in 2005. During this time I have had the opportunity to project manage large scale irrigation developments, dairy conversions and dairy operations.
My governance roles have focused on dairy based businesses in the South Island with a commitment to lead and influence the industry to ensure large scale corporate dairy farm businesses are successful and sustainable for all stakeholders. The boards and businesses I work with are leading developments in health and safety, environmental management and human resource capability. Most of these strategies are supported by a strong network of outside expertise and partnerships.
Within the businesses I currently influence and other associations in the agricultural sector, there is considerable experience and capability to draw on for the benefit of other businesses.
I have extensive management and project experience from a career that includes over 25 years of hands-on management in Quality Management, Training, Human Resources, Strategic Development, Communication and General Management. I have attended executive development programmes within NZ and internationally, including a Programme for Global Leadership from Harvard Business School, am a graduate of Massey University’s executive MBA programme and have attended the Institute of Directors 5 day residential programme.
I have a passion for people and their development, a passion that has resulted in the formation of my own consulting and training company, Implement Limited, offering consulting and training services to a wide range of businesses.
Presently I am on the management committee at Taranaki Pioneer Village, a Board member of the Taranaki Hockey Federation and Chair of the Hawera Cinema Trust. From 2007-2012, I was on the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council representing Ward 23 (Egmont Plains). I have also been a Board member and Chair of the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce.
I also have a passion for business and am an active advocate for local business success.
I am a fourth generation Dairy Farm owner, Husband and Father with a keen interest in Business and Industry Governance. I currently Chair the Waipu Saorsa Retirement Village Trust and contribute to other organisations within the local Community.
As a Fonterra Supplier and Shareholder, I served 8 years on the Fonterra Shareholders Council. Joining the Shareholders Council in 2004, I was appointed as an observer on the Fair Value Share Committee (a Fonterra Board Committee) Chaired the Performance Committee for 18 months, selected for the Governance and Development Programme for potential rural governors and chaired the Shareholders Council for two years from 2010 to 2012.
During my time with Fonterra I experienced leadership, representation, performance monitoring, and communication through different media at a variety of levels. Through regular interface with the Fonterra Board I have gained exposure to governance issues. I am very interested in establishing business performance and I enjoy the process of making a positive contribution.