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Current as of 26/05/17 07:40PM NZST
Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Govt mulls fourth inquiry into Fonterra

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says the Government is yet to decide whether there will be a separate inquiry into Fonterra on top of one planned by the Ministry of Primary Industries and Fonterra's own two inquiries.

Fonterra has announced it will hold two reviews: one internal inquiry into the contamination and a second to be led by the board and including independent experts. Board chairman John Wilson spoke publicly for the first time yesterday and said the board inquiry would be thorough and unflinching.

Mr Joyce said it would be in Fonterra's interests to put hard questions to itself in those reviews.

He said the Government had made it clear to Fonterra that the Ministry of Primary Industries would hold its own inquiry into Fonterra's handling of the issue and Fonterra had said it would co-operate. The Government was yet to decide whether to set up a further inquiry.

"MPI will advise how it will hold its inquiry and we don't want to get in the way of that.

"We will have a look where it is heading and then ministers will consider whether there is any benefit in doing another one on top of that," he said.

There was also a food safety review of infant formula standards under way "which obviously will take on a heightened level of importance".

Labour's primary industries spokesman Damien O'Connor has started asking whether the Ministry of Primary Industries and its minister Nathan Guy dropped the ball. He said the Government's top priority should be limiting the damage to New Zealand's international reputation.

Mr Guy said he was involved as one of eight ministers leading the response and had been working closely with MPI.

Who's who at Fonterra

Fonterra chairman John Wilson made his first appearance since the botulism scare yesterday saying the board will conduct a ``full, thorough, formal review'' into the handling of the infant formula contamination scandal.

The review would be separate from an operational investigation by the company and would challenge every aspect of the process the board was now concluding, he said.

Mr Wilson said Fonterra was "deeply concerned'' by the anxiety caused by the debacle.

"We want to take steps to build systems and procedures across our entire business and the global dairy supply chain to ensure we can learn from this experience and avoid putting consumers at risk.''

Kerry Underhill - Group director of communications

Mr Underhill has been in this job just one month, according to his LinkedIn page. He was previously Fonterra's group director brand management and corporate marketing.

Fonterra has a contract with PR agency Baldwin Boyle and outsources most of its communications needs. Before joining Fonterra he was with a Dutch supermarket group for seven years. He is a Kiwi who worked in journalism and PR locally before heading to Europe in the 1990s.

Gary Romano - Managing director New Zealand milk products

Was the front man for Fonterra in New Zealand while chief executive Theo Spierings was in China dealing with the fallout there. Mr Romano joined the dairy industry in 1997 with the New Zealand Dairy Group. Before that, he worked for mining, refining and smelting company Alcoa of Australia and global consulting firm The Boston Consulting Group.

John Wilson - Chairman

Took over from Sir Henry van der Heyden in December 2012. Mr Wilson joined the Fonterra board in 2003, having previously chaired Fonterra's first Shareholders' Council _ an elected national body of farmer shareholders. He had previously chaired the board's capital structure committee and was on the committees that planned and oversaw the introduction of the Trading Among Farmers share trading scheme. Mr Wilson is also a director of Turners & Growers and a member of the Institute of Directors.

Theo Spierings - Chief executive

Came to Fonterra in 2011 with impeccable credentials. Mr Spierings sets Fonterra's overall direction and leads the Fonterra management team. He was previously the acting chief executive officer of the Dutch dairy co-operative Royal Friesland Foods and led the merger between Friesland and another Dutch co-operative, Campina, in 2008. In an interview last year, he described himself as a "co-op man, through and through''.

- NZ Herald

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