New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra has announced the appointment of Australian businessman John Ballard, who will join the board as one of the four appointed directors.

Board chairman Henry van der Heyden said Ballard's background, with proven marketing, brand and distribution management and leadership experience in Australian and international firms could be an asset to Fonterra.

"The role of our appointed directors on the Fonterra board is important. They bring a balance of independence, commercial skills and experience that complement the deep dairy industry knowledge of our nine elected directors.

"John has not only had a successful career at CEO level, but has also been a non-executive director on several boards.

"In April 2003 he was recruited by Southcorp (the Australian wine group) with a brief to galvanise a management team, focus the business, reduce costs and deliver a significant turnaround in operating performance.  John led the company's return to growth for two years, until its acquisition by Foster's in mid-2005," van der Heyden said.
 
Ballard has previously been on the boards of several prominent listed companies. He chaired the board of Wattyl, was a director of Woolworths and CSR. His managing director roles include Coca-Cola Amatil (Australia) where he ran the Smith's Snackfoods business, which was the largest snackfoods company in Australasia.  He subsequently led United Biscuits Asia Pacific, when it acquired Coca-Cola Amatil's Snackfood operations.