LIC has appointed two new directors to its Board of Directors. Shareholders elected Duncan Coull and Victoria Trayner during yesterday’s Annual Meeting, held in Ashburton.

The meeting also signified the end of Murray King’s 12-year tenure as Board Chair, and the instatement of Corrigan Sowman who brings a wealth of industry and governance experience to the role.

Murray King and Corrigan Sowman
Murray King and Corrigan Sowman

Shareholders elected Duncan Coull as North Island Director in place of Ken Hames.

LIC Chief Executive, David Chin, says that during his term on LIC’s Board, Hames played a pivotal role in helping deliver on the co-op’s commitments to its farmer shareholders.

“We would like to thank Ken for his dedication to the co-op. His strong governance background in agribusiness and community-facing roles in the Northland region, as well as his passion for supporting rural New Zealand to prosper, brought a welcomed perspective to the Board’s thinking.”

Victoria Trayner will replace Murray King as Elected Director for the South Island.

Chin says the new directors bring a variety of skills that will help guide the co-op’s decisions during an important time for the industry.

“LIC’s core focus is helping farmers to breed the best cows, faster, in order to ensure New Zealand’s dairy sector is as sustainable and profitable as it can be – now and into the future.

“I look forward to working alongside our newly elected directors and welcoming them to our Board. With their skillsets, we are well-positioned to continue to deliver on our strategy to build a strong, sustainable co-operative and drive outstanding value for our farmer shareholders,” says Chin.

At the Annual Meeting, Sophie Haslem was confirmed as Appointed Director for another term, alongside various additional appointments and re-elections across the LIC Shareholder Reference Group and Honoraria Committee.

Attendees farewelled outgoing Board Chair, Murray King, concluding over a decade of service for the co-op.

During his time as Board Chair, King was involved in several initiatives including a successful share simplification process designed to create a fairer share structure for LIC’s shareholders, and a governance and representation review that delivered a modernised and highly efficient structure for the co-op. He was also instrumental in leading LIC’s rapid response to the 2017 Mycoplasma Bovis outbreak; the biggest biosecurity event of the last decade for New Zealand farming.

Under King’s leadership, LIC has almost doubled the rate of genetic gain on farm in the last decade and grown into one of the largest investors in research and development for the primary sector. This investment is actively contributing to research programmes to help farmers breed low methane-emitting cows, increase dairy cow heat tolerance, and utilise disease technologies to enhance the health and wellbeing of the national herd.

Most recently, King was acknowledged with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Cooperative Business New Zealand, recognising his long-standing contribution to LIC and the wider primary sector.

“On behalf of LIC, I want to acknowledge Murray’s significant contribution. He will be remembered fondly by the entire business for his exceptional leadership and passionate farmer voice,” says Chin.

King was elected to the Board of Directors in 2009 and appointed Board Chair in 2011. Prior to this, he was an LIC Shareholder Councillor. King notified the board in May that he would not be seeking re-election, and Sowman was appointed Chair-designate.

“It has been my great privilege to Chair the Board of LIC, but the time is right for someone new to take the reins. Corrigan is a great fit for the job. He has a deep understanding of farming, its challenges and what farmers need both now and in the future in order to be more profitable and sustainable,” says King.

For Sowman, looking ahead to the next generation of farmers and fostering their ingenuity will be key to keeping LIC at the forefront of the dairy sector.

“It is a privilege to be appointed Board Chair of LIC at such an important and exciting time for our sector. I’m deeply committed to supporting LIC as the co-op continues to focus on delivering its three commitments to farmer shareholders.

“This role comes with big shoes to fill, new responsibilities and challenges, and I look forward to making a valuable contribution to this co-op and the farmers it serves.

“I would like to acknowledge Murray and his exceptional leadership throughout his tenure as Board Chair,” says Sowman.

LIC’s Board is made up of six farmer-elected board members; three representing the North Island and three representing the South Island, as well as three independently-appointed directors.

Full results from LIC’s Annual Meeting can be found here.