Australian dairy group Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory (WCB) has announced the resignation of its chairman, David Karpin, from the board of directors.

Karpin will be replaced by current director Frank Davis, who said the changes are intended to “continue a process of board renewal that will serve the best interests of shareholders and suppliers”.

The appointment follows the resignation of former CEO Neil Kearney last month in the wake of a cancelled capital raising after a price cut angered suppliers.

WCB also announced that Craig Drake will remain on the board but step down as deputy chairman, a role which will be filled by current supplier director Terry Richardson.

Davis said the company would be seeking to the vacancies “as soon as practicable”.

In March, WCB secured funding for its planned acquisition of a 50% stake in a venture with bigger peer National Foods.

Davis said today (11 May), that both companies have a “strong working relationship” and discussions relating to the retail domestic cheese business are “continuing”.

He went on to say the global economic crisis has had a “dramatic” impact on the Australian dairy industry. Over the past month markets have been “less volatile” with demand for dairy products particularly milk powders holding up “reasonably well” and prices have been more stable.