SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — The board of directors of GrainCorp Ltd. appointed Robert Spurway to the role of chief executive officer and managing director of GrainCorp after the completion of the planned demerger of the company’s malt business in early 2020.

Robert Spurway, photo courtesy of Fonterra Co-operative Group.

Spurway is currently employed at the Fonterra Co-operative Group, where he has held the position of chief operating officer, global operations, for the last six years. Fonterra is a New Zealand multinational dairy co-operative with over NZ$20 billion in revenue. In this role he led Fonterra’s global operations business and had responsibility for the group’s manufacturing and supply chain operations.

“GrainCorp’s board is very pleased that Robert has accepted the role as managing director and chief executive officer of GrainCorp after completion of the demerger,” said Graham Bradley, chairman of GrainCorp. “Robert is a proven leader who brings extensive experience in the food and dairy industries, both through operational and executive leadership roles.”

He has more than 25 years’ experience in the food and dairy industries, including multiple senior operational roles with both Fonterra and Goodman Fielder Australia and CEO positions with Salad Fresh and Mrs. Crocket’s Kitchen.  

“Robert has led complex operational businesses and overseen transformational change programs that have delivered significant benefits for customers and shareholders,” Bradley said. “He has a deep understanding of the Australian and New Zealand agricultural industries, which will serve us well as we continue to evolve GrainCorp’s strategy and customer offering.”

Spurway has a bachelor of engineering degree (chemical and materials) from the University of Auckland and is a graduate of the INSEAD AVIRA Executive Program. He is also a graduate member of the Institute of Directors in New Zealand.

“I’m delighted to be joining GrainCorp as the next chief executive officer at an exciting time for the company,” Spurway said. “GrainCorp is an iconic Australian agribusiness with a long and rich history.”

Spurway will be relocating to Sydney from Christchurch, New Zealand, and will commence work following GrainCorp shareholder and court approval of the demerger.

“I am looking forward to playing a key role in GrainCorp’s journey as it continues to strengthen its supply chains and deliver for its extensive network of growers and other customers,” he said.

As previously announced, GrainCorp’s current CEO, Mark Palmquist, will become managing director and CEO of the Malt business upon a successful demerger vote by GrainCorp shareholders at the company’s Extraordinary General Meeting and subsequent court approval. He will relocate to the North American headquarters of Malt in Vancouver, Washington, U.S.

The proposed demerger will be implemented via a scheme of arrangement, full details of which will be set out in a scheme booklet that GrainCorp expects will be dispatched to GrainCorp shareholders in February 2020. GrainCorp expects shareholder approval for the demerger will be sought at an Extraordinary General Meeting in March 2020. If GrainCorp shareholders approve the demerger and all other conditions to the demerger are satisfied, implementation of the demerger is expected to occur in late-March or early-April 2020.