Tributes paid following death of former Fonterra chair

Tributes have been paid to former Fonterra chairman John Wilson, who passed away this morning after a hard-fought battle with illness.

Wilson is survived by his wife Belinda and four daughters, Sophie, Victoria and twins Tessa and Libby.

In July last year, John Wilson announced his intention to step down from the role of chairman due to ill health following six years in the role.

He then retired from the co-operative’s board at its annual meeting last November.

Wilson joined the board of Fonterra in 2003 and served in a variety of capacities.

From a dairy farm near Te Awamutu, Wilson owned a dairy farming business based in Geraldine, South Canterbury.

In a note to the co-operative’s farmer-owners earlier today, Fonterra chairman John Monaghan said Wilson was a man “whose dedication and commitment to the co-operative ran deep”.

“We owe John and his family a debt of gratitude for all the time, energy and sheer hard graft he gave us as a farmer-owner, inaugural chairman of the Fonterra Shareholder’s Council on merger, as a farmer-elected director from 2003, and as our chairman from 2012.

“John always brought dedication, commitment, and deep dairy knowledge to each of the representation and governance roles in which he served.

On behalf of his fellow farmers he was the ultimate advocate for what we stand for.

“We have lost a friend, colleague, leader and champion for our industry much too soon. Our thoughts and deep gratitude for all that he contributed go to his family and friends,” Monaghan said.