Westland Milk Products has appointed an Australian woman to lead the dairy co-operative's business.

Board chairman Matt O'Regan announced today that Toni Brendish will take over as chief executive on September 5, following the resignation of Rod Quin after seven years. He will step down this weekend.

O'Regan said Brendish had extensive leadership experience in the international food and dairy industries - with over 30 years' general management experience.

This has included more than 15 years in chief executive/managing director roles, leading businesses of up to US$2 billion in the consumer goods sector in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Her most recent role has been as vice president for the largest consumer goods business in Thailand, DKSH (Thailand) Ltd, where she currently resides and manages a team of 2300.


She is the first woman to take the top job at Westland.

O'Regan said her credentials fitted the co-operative's business direction towards higher-value manufactured goods.

"Toni's familiarity with the manufacture, supply chain and sales and marketing of value-added dairy products, including paediatric and nutritional powders and UHT dairy products, will be of immense value to the company," O'Regan said.

Brendish would live in Christchurch along with her husband, Mark, a New Zealander. They have two children.

O'Regan said Brendish was committed to spending "a good proportion of her time" on the West Coast to familiarise herself with the region, shareholders, staff and facilities.

"We also expect that she will be spending a fair amount of her time overseas, directly leading Westland's international marketing outreach."

- Greymouth Star