Silver Fern Farms chief executive to step down as business reorganises

By Georgi Gyton

- Last updated on GMT

Keith Cooper said the time had come to step down
Keith Cooper said the time had come to step down

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Keith Cooper, chief executive of Silver Fern Farms, is to step down from his position.

The news came last week when the New Zealand firm’s chairman, Rob Hewett, announced that it was on track to deliver a significantly improved profit for the 2014 fiscal year, following a strategic review of the business.

Hewett said: "We expect the audited pre-tax earnings for the company to be NZ$5m–NZ$7m for the year just ended to 30 September 2014, which will represent a greater than NZ$40m net profit before tax improvement in performance on 2013."

He said Silver Fern Farms was planning to reorganise the business into three species units: beef, sheep meat and venison.

He continued: "The improved structure will increase visibility of performance and strategy across species and establish a broader range of opportunities for any future capital structure initiatives."

Cooper said that, after eight years in the role, it was timely to step down as the company was returning to profit and embarking on new ventures.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed leading the creation of a co-operative food company. However, the timing is right for change, for someone with different skill sets and a high level of energy to take Silver Fern Farms through its next phase of development,"​ said Cooper.

Dean Hamilton, who joined as chief strategy officer in April this year, will take over as interim chief executive, and will transition into the role in the coming months.

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