Fonterra Announces New RD1 CEO

NEW ZEALAND - Fonterra has announced the appointment of Sarah Kennedy as CEO of rural supplies company RD1. She succeeds John Lea who is stepping down at the end of November.
calendar icon 9 September 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

Ms Kennedy, originally a veterinarian by training, has just completed a Sloan Fellowship at MIT, and has held a number of senior executive positions in agribusiness and food industries. She was a former General Manager at NRM NZ Ltd, Business Manager with Tegel Foods Limited, Chief Executive Officer with Healtheries NZ Ltd and Group Chief Executive Officer of Vitaco Health Ltd.

During her time at Healtheries, she oversaw its merger of Healtheries with Nutralife doubling the size of the organisation and increasing market share significantly in both New Zealand and Australia, along with taking the business into international markets.

“I am very much looking forward to this new role. RD1 is the backbone of the dairy rural supplies sector in New Zealand and with its return to full ownership by Fonterra is uniquely placed to support Fonterra shareholders to farm competitively.”

Ms Kennedy has also held board positions with: Global Women, IANZ NZ Ltd, Auckland University Business School and the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

She joins RD1 on 3 October.

Mr Lea, who headed RD1 for seven years and was General Manager of Fonterra Enterprises, grew the business from a group turnover of NZ$320m to approaching NZ$1 billion and the number of RD1 stores from 50 to 63.

He intends pursuing opportunities within the wider Fonterra network.

“RD1 is in a great place with a bright future. I believe that now is a good time for someone else to step into the leadership role, someone with new ideas and different experiences. I look forward to watching how RD1 develops as an important part of the Fonterra group, in support of New Zealand’s growing dairy industry,” he said.

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