Outgoing Synlait Milk managing director John Penno says he'd get "bored in about half an hour" lying on a beach but is looking forward to a change of pace after shepherding a single Canterbury dairy farm into a sharemarket darling.

Penno, also chief executive, officially leaves the building on August 10 but will be available to incoming chief executive Leon Clement "as much as he needs me".

"Organisations certainly don't need two CEOs and he's the right guy. I'll work with him closely as he gets ready to come in and that's already started," said Penno, who co-founded Synlait in 2000 by buying and developing Robindale Farm, which remains the export processor's largest milk supply farm today.

Penno, Synlait's first chief executive, will remain a shareholder and director.


Synlait Milk, which makes infant and adult nutritional products and ingredients, listed on the NZX in 2013 and the ASX three years later. Its biggest shareholder is China's Bright Dairy with 39 per cent.

Penno said he does not have a job to go to, and is not looking for a role.

"I'm always an entrepreneur so I'll look for opportunities as they come along. I have a few things going on with Maury (Leyland, his wife, a former Fonterra senior executive) but the thing next is to take a breather.

"I'm looking forward to it, it's been a busy 15 years and I'm looking forward to a change of pace."

The couple, who have a young family, have a hill country block on Banks Peninsula with a restoration plan to be enacted, and "a couple of boats that don't get enough time", he said.

Synlait's IPO on July 10 2013 had a final share offer price of $2.20.

The company's NZX share price yesterday was $11.50.

Synlait has had a business relationship with another sharemarket darling A2 Milk Company since 2012.