Chairman John Wilson said Mr van der Poel had been a conscientious and hard-working director with a deep knowledge of the business.
“Jim has served as a great ambassador for Fonterra and our farmers both here in New Zealand and our markets around the world.
“Jim is a successful commercial farmer with farming interests in Waikato, Canterbury and the United States. He was a New Zealand Dairy Group director for several years before Fonterra’s formation, and was elected to the Fonterra Board in 2002.
“It is important that Fonterra continues to attract farmers of his calibre to the Board, who have proven commercial experience and abilities, have taken part in our Governance Development Programme and gained governance experience,” said Mr Wilson.
Mr van der Poel said his Fonterra Board experience had been demanding and enjoyable.
“The Co-operative has evolved significantly since its formation, both at a business and governance level. The quality of the systems, processes and strategy together with the skills of our people means the Co-op is in a strong position to make the most of the opportunities from growing global demand for dairy products.
“The depth and breadth of experience on Fonterra’s Board, and focus on the highest possible standards of governance has made for a stimulating directorship.
“As I step aside from a role that I have found personally and professionally rewarding, I would like to see more of our farmers getting involved in governance early in their careers. In this way they can gain the skills required for strong governance, and be ready to serve on Fonterra’s Board.
“That is why I am announcing my retirement now, so others might be encouraged to step up to the plate in this year’s elections, or in subsequent years,” said Mr van der Poel.