Fonterra executive Andrei Mikhalevsky will become president and CEO at US dairy co-op California Dairies next year.

Mikhalevsky, MD of Fonterra's global ingredients and foodservice division, will replace Richard Cotta, who is retiring from California Dairies.

"As we considered candidates, Andrei's breadth of experience and strategic vision identified him as the clear choice to lead our co-operative," California Dairies chairman Brian Pacheco said yesterday (14 November).

Mikhalevsky joined Fonterra four years ago food ingredients maker Symrise. Between 1997 and 2004, he worked for building materials business Georgia Pacific Corp. Before that, he spent 20 years at Campbell Soup Co.

Cotta, who will retire at the end of the year, has worked for California Dairies since the co-op was founded in 1999 and spent the last five years at the company as CEO. Pacheco said Cotta had led California Dairies to "unprecedented growth and profits".

Fonterra said Alex Turnbull, director of its formulated foods division, will take Mikhalevsky's role on an interim basis while it looks for a permanent replacement.