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New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra has brought in additional help to implement its new strategy by appointing Fraser Whineray to its management team in the newly-created role of chief operating officer.

Whineray is seen by Fonterra as a transformation specialist who can help turn the business around. He will start work at the embattled cooperative, the world’s largest dairy exporter, early next year.

Last month, Fonterra unveiled a new strategy after posting a record annual loss of NZD605m (US$379.3m).

It plans to phase out overseas milk pools, cut debt and focus on its local production. The group also plans to focus on supplying dairy ingredients to global customers and build its business into foodservice in the Asia Pacific.

Whineray is the CEO of local energy business Mercury NZ where he has held several senior leadership roles since joining the company in 2008.

Commenting on the appointment, Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell said: “Fraser has demonstrated he can transform organisations to achieve growth in complex environments through a focus on innovation, customers and his team. He is motivated to contribute to New Zealand’s export success and to drive sustainability, innovation and efficiency in business – three strengths that we believe can create real value.”

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Whineray has worked in the dairy sector before. He started his career as a graduate of the New Zealand Dairy Board’s technical training programme and has spent time at some of Fonterra’s manufacturing sites. He has also worked for Puhoi Valley Cheese. 

Whineray said: “I am pleased to be able to continue in a role which contributes to New Zealand, and has strong, genuine relationships with many regional communities, Maori land trusts and local Iwi across the country.”