March 27, 2012
Rabobank has announced the appointment of John Palmer as chairman of Rabobank New Zealand Limited, with Sir Henry van der Heyden also joining the board.
Mr Palmer, who has been a director of the Rabobank New Zealand Limited board since November 2004, takes over from Bill Gurry, who remains chairman of Rabobank's Australian board of directors and will retain his seat on the New Zealand board.
Announcing the New Zealand board changes, chairman of Rabobank Netherland Piet Moerland said the appointments reflected the growing strength and presence of Rabobank in the New Zealand market.
"New Zealand is a significant growth market for Rabobank's international operations and these changes to our local board – with the very high-calibre appointments of John Palmer as chairman and Henry van der Heyden as a director – reflect just how committed the bank is to this part of the world," he said.
"Both John and Henry are among New Zealand's most respected and experienced business leaders. They are not only leading business people, but also very connected to, and passionate about, food and agriculture, which is at the core of Rabobank's agri banking operations in this country.
"It is fitting that two of New Zealand's leading business people will be involved in steering Rabobank's future direction in this country and that the business has a locally-domiciled chairman."
Mr Moerland, who is currently visiting New Zealand, said Rabobank globally held a very strong outlook for New Zealand's food and agribusiness sector and considered the country to be one of its key international growth markets for both rural and agribusiness lending as well as its online savings and deposits business, RaboDirect.
"We are committed to continuing to working with New Zealand's farmers and agribusinesses as they grow and we have a very optimistic outlook for both our agri lending and funding businesses in this country," he said.
John Palmer – who is chairman of Air New Zealand and Solid Energy Limited – has wide-ranging experience in both agribusiness and financial services.
He previously chaired prominent New Zealand rural services company, Wrightson Limited, and has extensive experience in the horticulture industry, having formerly led the New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board. Mr Palmer was awarded an ONZM for service to the kiwifruit industry. He is also a director of AMP Limited and AMP Life Limited.
Mr Palmer will also continue to sit on Rabobank's Australian board.
Mr Moerland said Sir Henry van der Heyden's "unrivalled experience in both the global dairy industry and in the area of cooperative governance makes him an ideal and very fitting appointment to the board".
Sir Henry was a founding director of Fonterra Co-operative Group from the co-operative's establishment in 2001 and has held the role of chairman since 2002. New Zealand's largest company and a major global dairy player, Fonterra accounts for more than 25 per cent of New Zealand's export earnings. He is also a significant dairy farmer in his own right, with four family-run properties in the Central North Island.
A former New Zealand businessman of the year, Sir Henry is also a director of Auckland International Airport, Elevation Capital, Manuka SA and Pascaro Investments.
Sir Henry also joins Rabobank's Australian board.
Mr Moerland acknowledged the great contribution of retiring Rabobank New Zealand Limited chairman, Bill Gurry. "Bill has made an outstanding contribution to the New Zealand operation in the three years in which he has been at the helm of the board and we are delighted that he will continue to serve as a director of Rabobank New Zealand and of course chairman of Rabobank's Australian board," Mr Moerland said.
Rabobank also paid tribute to retiring Rabobank New Zealand Limited board members David Smithers and Ralf Dekker, while announcing current director Anne Brennan's appointment as chairperson of the board's Board Risk Compliance & Audit Committee, replacing Mr Smithers in this role.
Rabobank New Zealand is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 110 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 48 countries, servicing the needs of approximately 10 million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1600 offices and branches. Rabobank New Zealand is one of the country's leading rural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the New Zealand food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 31 branches throughout New Zealand.
Media Relations Manager
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand
Phone: +61 2 8115 2744 or +61 439 603 525
Media Relations Specialist
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand
Phone: +61 2 8115 4861