Three new members elected to FMG’s Board of Directors

Three new members elected to FMG’s Board of Directors

17 August 2017

With extensive backgrounds in farming and business, Geoff Copstick, Murray Taggart and Stephen Allen have been elected to FMG’s Board of Directors.

All three were elected by FMG Members at the Mutual’s 112th Annual General Meeting in Hanmer Springs on Thursday. Tony Cleland, who was retiring by rotation, was also re-elected.

“To have attracted three individuals of Geoff, Murray and Stephen’s calibre and experience is a significant endorsement on where we’re at as a business. Their inclusion will add to the diverse combination of agricultural knowledge and business acumen already within the Board and position us well to support the Mutual’s continued growth aspirations,” said Board Chair Tony Cleland.

The three new positions were made available after Greg Gent and Graeme Milne stepped down and a decision to expand the Board by one additional member. 

The decision to increase the Board from seven to eight was in recognition of the number and high calibre of candidates that were nominated for consideration and the fact that Marise James will be retiring after 16 years on the Board in 2018. This will ensure there is a strong succession plan for the Board.

“With three new additions, two exceptionally talented rural governors in Greg Gent and Graeme Milne are retiring after serving FMG for the last 12 years. They’ve played an important part in helping reposition FMG and in the progress we’ve made over recent years. A special thanks to Greg for chairing the FMG Board so ably for the last 10 years,” said Mr Cleland.

FMG’s Chief Executive Chris Black also acknowledged Greg and Graeme’s contribution.

“Both are passionate advocates of the Mutual and have served it extremely well for 12 years. In addition, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside Greg in his capacity as Chairman, which has been a real career highlight for me personally.  

“The FMG Executive Leadership Team is looking forward to working alongside the newly elected member directors. All three have had impressive careers to date and in addition, believe in the core purpose and value of the mutual model and being there for members and clients when it counts,” said Mr Black.

 FMG received 21 expressions of interest to join the Board. In accordance with FMG’s Director Appointment & Re-appointment Policy, the Board worked with an external independent consultant, Caldwell & Partners, to assess the Member candidates against a specified set of criteria. This included governance experience, connectedness to the rural sector, affinity with the mutual/co-operative model and commercial acumen.

Further, as required by FMG’s Constitution, one-third of the Board is required to retire by rotation each year. This year it was Graeme Milne, who elected to retire, and Tony Cleland who was re-elected.

Member Biographies

Geoff Copstick

Geoff was CFO of Gallagher Group in Hamilton for nine years. He is now on Gallagher’s board and Chair of their Audit and Risk Committee. Geoff also serves as an independent advisor to Northland Regional Council on finance, audit and economic development issues. Geoff is a previous Chair of ChildFund New Zealand and has 20 years of executive-level finance experience with New Zealand companies. He has specialised in corporate governance, risk management and corporate treasury operations.

Murray Taggart

Murray farms sheep, beef and arable crops under irrigation near Oxford in North Canterbury. Prior to going farming, he worked for seven years at ANZ Bank, mainly in corporate banking. Murray was a Nuffield scholar in 1996 and in 2006 won the Tasman region FMG Rural Excellence Award. He is a former National Meat and Fibre Chairman of Federated Farmers and was a director of CRT Society for 15 years. Murray is experienced in corporate governance and is currently Chairman of Alliance Group and a director of Ballance Agri-Nutrients.

Steve Allen

Steve has enjoyed over twenty years as a Chairman, Director and Trustee of a number of Private Companies, Private Trusts and Charitable Trusts. Steve’s career has included time in the commercial sector with IBM New Zealand, and comprises extensive dairy industry experience with directorships on both the NZ Dairy Board and LIC (Livestock Improvement Corporation). More recently, Steve has been a member of the Waikato Dairy Leaders Group and he is a trustee of the Waikato based David Johnstone Charitable Trust. Steve has been Chairman of the Tatua Board since 2003.