Friesland Foods, the Dutch dairy co-op, said today (9 May) that Johan Priem has resigned from its management board.

Priem had planned to step down last year but, due to the departure of another executive through illness and the company’s merger talks with fellow Dutch co-op Campina, the 53-year-old agreed to stay on.

Friesland’s management board will now comprise CEO Cees ’t Hart, COO Theo Spierings and CFO André Boudewijns.

‘T Hart is being lined up to head FrieslandCampina, the EUR9.1bn (US$14.1bn) dairy giant set to be formed from the planned merger.

Earlier this week, the two companies secured official backing from their members for the merger. The deal is now awaiting EU clearance.