Fonterra, the New Zealand-based dairy giant, has reinforced its commitment to the Chinese market with the appointment of its first CEO for Greater China.

Teh-Han Chow, who takes the role on an interim basis, will sit alongside the other regional CEOs in the business – Kelvin Wickham (AMENA) and Judith Swales (APAC).

In August, Fonterra said it would sell part or all of its stake in China-based baby and infant-food business Beingmate in which it has an 18.8% holding, after describing the venture as “disappointing”.

Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell said the creation of this new role in its management team structure reflects the importance of the China market to the dairy cooperative.

Chow is currently president of NZMP for Greater China and south-east Asia at Fonterra. The co-op said he has agreed to take on the new responsibility on an interim basis while it works through the recruitment process for a permanent CEO for Greater China.

Hurrell said: “Teh-Han is a proven food-sector executive with extensive experience leading large organisations across consumer and ingredients businesses. During his time at Fonterra he’s demonstrated his ability to grow a business by putting customers front and centre, which is exactly what our new operating model is about.”

Before joining Fonterra in 2015, Chow was the CEO of agricultural goods processor Louis Dreyfus in China. He has also been managing director for Greater China at agri-food business Simplot.

In October Fonterra entered a R&D venture with China’s By-Health.