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The Committee

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 chaired by Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman Duncan Coull and members include Fonterra Chairman John Monaghan, Fonterra Director Peter McBride, Councillor Matt Pepper and independent member Janine Smith.

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James Barron


James was first elected to the Shareholders’ Council in 2016 to represent Fonterra farmers in Matamata.


He has served on the Council's Co-operative Culture and Performance Committees and was elected Chair of the Council in 2019. He has a BCom from Canterbury University, and worked in real estate and travelled overseas before going into farming on his return to NZ. 


He is a fourth generation dairy farmer, milking 450 cows on the 140ha dairy farm where he grew up south of Matamata.


John Monaghan


John Monaghan was elected to the Fonterra Board in 2008 and became Chairman in 2018. Prior to joining the Fonterra Board, John was Chairman of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council and the Inaugural Chair of the Governance Development Programme. He is also a Director of Centreport Limited and Centreport Properties Limited, and is a member of the Executive Board of theNew Zealand China Council.


John is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors. He holds a number of farming directorships and is a trustee of the Wairarapa Irrigation Trust. John has dairy farming interests in the Wairarapa and Otago regions. John has taken a lead role in representing Fonterra’s interests on global trade issues and has strong networks domestically and internationally with key stakeholders.


Peter McBride

Farmer Director


Peter McBride was elected to the Fonterra Board in 2018. He is a member of the Zespri China Advisory Board. Peter was previously the Chairman and a Director of Zespri Group Limited and other related companies.


Peter is a Managing Director of South-East Hort Limited and subsidiaries and Ellett Beach Farms Joint Venture. He was previously a Director of the New Zealand International Business Forum and a member of the Executive Board of the New Zealand China Council. Peter has shareholding interests in the Waikato.




Matt Pepper


Matt was elected to the Shareholders’ Council in 2014 to represent Fonterra Farmers in Rotorua. He is Chair of the Governance & Ethics Committee and has previously been a member of the Performance Committee and Chair of the Budget Committee.



Janine Smith


Janine has been a company director for over 25 years. She is a founding Principal of The Boardroom Practice Limited which specialises in boardroom practice and organisational development and change issues for boards and management. She has a MPhil (Hons1stclass) research only on the topic Effective and Ineffective boards. She received a MNZM for services to corporate governance in the 2015 New Year’s Honours List.

Janine is currently Chair of AsureQuality, Chair of Advanced Research Education Network, Council member at AUT, President of the London Business School alumni Auckland chapter and a business awards judge. She has held a number of other board positions in the public and private sectors, in the arts and tertiary education sectors, and was a member of the screening panel for Crown directors for over 10 years. 



Programme overview

There are two stages to the Governance Development Programme.