Alan Tooth, the long-serving managing director of milk processor Dairy Farmers is set to bring forward his retirement to before the end of this year.

Tooth’s successor is now likely to address shareholders at Dairy Farmers’ annual convention in November.

Speculation amongst industry analysts is currently focused on a possible takeover bid for Australia’s National Foods. It is believed that Danone of France or New Zealand mega-dairy Fonterra, possibly in conjunction with Dairy Farmers, will make a bid for the company. National Foods might then be broken up, with its surplus assets sold off to companies such as Italian  beverages and dairy group Parmalat.

Dairy Farmers acquired a 9.2% stake in National Foods in March. Three months later food and beverages giant Danone acquired a 10.1% stake in the company. New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra has an 18% stake, reported Australian Financial Review.