New Zealand dairy group Fonterra has appointed businessman Ralph Waters to join the board of directors, effective immediately.

Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden said of the appointment: “Waters possesses broad general management and operational experience, a strong international track record, and a good understanding of governance boards in other sectors. He has significant experience in industrial and consumer products, and distribution.

Waters is due to step-down from his position as chief executive of Fletcher Building in August.

“Since taking the helm at Fletcher Building, revenue has grown from about NZ$3bn (US1.82bn) in 2001 to an annualised rate of about NZ$6bn today, and the company’s share price has increased more than four-fold,” van der Heyden said. “The company’s growth was achieved through a combination of improved operating performance, acquisitions and diversification – including expansion into Australia. The parallels with our current Australian strategy are obvious.”