Newly appointed Fonterra interim chief executive Miles Hurrell says delivering on promises is a key focus as he begins his new role.

Fonterra announced this morning it has appointed the long-time employee as interim CEO, replacing Theo Spierings.

Hurrell spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay about the decision and what it means for the dairy co-op.

Mackay says he has heard positive feedback from Fonterra farmers about the appointment and Hurrell is regarded as "a safe set of hands," with 18 years' experience behind him.


Listen below:

The global search for a Fonterra chief executive has been suspended. Mackay asks Hurrell if this means the role will become more permanent if he performs well as interim CEO.

"I love the vote of confidence. Three hours in and you're talking about permanent roles. It's a long way off at this point Jamie."

Former chief executive Theo Spierings has never spoken to The Country and Mackay is quick to point out that Hurrell is already taking his calls after one morning in the job. Does this mean a different style of leadership from the new CEO?

Read more: Fonterra appoints 18-year veteran Miles Hurrell as interim CEO

"It's not my role to comment on my predecessor, other than to say he's been very supportive of where we are at this point," says Hurrell, "I've always enjoyed talking to you guys and that won't change in the future. You can hold me to that Jamie."

Mackay wonders why Fonterra hasn't kept Spierings "until the 11th hour," in light of the recent departure of chairman John Wilson and if the recent change in CEO is driven by new chairman John Monaghan.

Hurrell says Spierings made his intentions to step down "very clear," at Fonterra's interim results announcement and Monaghan has been "quite decisive" since taking on his new role.

"He's driving a good board process from what I've seen," says Hurrell about Monaghan.


Finally, Mackay asks Hurrell for his thoughts on Fonterra's recent drop in forecast milk price and dividend.

"It's clear we've got to do a better job at delivering on the promises that we make out there. So that's certainly going to be a focus for me in the short term ... that we deliver on those promises."