New Zealand dairy group Fonterra has appointed former Friesland Foods executive Theo Spierings as its CEO.

The dairy co-operative said today (14 July) that Spierings would replace departing CEO Andrew Ferrier from 26 September. Ferrier announced plans to resign last March.

Fonterra chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said Spierings would bring 25 years of knowledge of the global dairy industry to the company.

"Spierings has a wealth of experience in managing dairy businesses across Asia, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Most importantly, Spierings has an in-built respect for the co-operative structure and for farmers and their commitment to co-operative principles. He is well recognised by his peers for his people leadership, delivery of results and strong strategic skills," said van der Heyden.

Spierings was acting CEO of Friesland Foods when the Dutch dairy group merged with local rival Campina. He left the new FrieslandCampina after the merger as both parties had already agreed on an independent CEO to lead the combined company.