A financial investment specialist and a retiring National MP are so far among this year's crop of aspiring directors of New Zealand's biggest company Fonterra.
Two farmer-elected director spots are open this year, created by the retirement of chairman John Monaghan from the board and incumbent director Brent Goldsack re-standing by rotation.
Waikato dairy farm owner and listed companies investment specialist Annabel Cotton has confirmed she is a candidate, choosing not to be assessed by the Fonterra system's independent assessment panel which didn't back her as a candidate last year, and nominated instead by 35 shareholders.
The experienced director, accountant and member of the new NZX Regulation board is the only known non-assessed candidate so far.
Four assessed candidates have passed the panel's muster: former agriculture minister and retiring National MP Nathan Guy; Goldsack, a former managing partner at PwC and three years on the Fonterra board; Mike O'Connor, majority shareholder and head of the dairy farming Spectrum Group; and Cathy Quinn, a former corporate lawyer now company director who unsuccessfully sought election last year.
The assessment process by independent panellists, veteran directors Tony Carter, Joan Withers and Rob Campbell, is confidential so it is not known how many, if any, other candidates put themselves forward for assessment.
Nominations for non-assessed candidates are now open and close on September 24.
The full line-up of candidates will be published on September 25.
All candidates must be an owner or shareholder in a dairy operation that has shares in Fonterra, a farmer-owned co-operative.
Monaghan will be succeeded as chairman later this year by Peter McBride, a former chairman of global kiwifruit marketer Zespri and head of dairy and kiwifruit operator Trinity Lands. Fonterra also appoints non-farmer directors but the chairperson must be a shareholder.
Cotton, a fourth-generation west Hamilton dairy farmer, has a business advising listed companies on investor relations and governance. A certified securities analyst with a 20-year governance career, she chairs Hamilton & Waikato Tourism, is a director of Waikato Regional Airport and Trust Investments Management and is a trustee of NZ Global Women.
Goldsack is a director of Rabobank NZ and chairman of Waitomo Petroleum Group. Formerly on the board of Canterbury Grasslands and National Fieldays Society, the Hamilton area resident and his family own three Waikato dairy farms. He chairs Fonterra's co-operative relations committee and is a member of the milk price panel and various other committees.
Guy retires at the upcoming New Zealand election after 15 years as a National MP. He is a third-generation dairy farmer near Levin and his family has a long history in dairy companies and public service. He is a director of the Horowhenua Kapiti Rugby Football Union.
O'Connor's Spectrum Group farms eight properties - five dairy farms in Canterbury and three in the Waikato, milking 8200 cows in total. The group also operates a large-scale heifer grazing block in Canterbury. He lives in the Waikato.
Aucklander Quinn until the end of last year had a 30-year career with law firm MinterEllisonRuddWatts. She was made an Officer of the Order of Merit in 2016 for services to law and women. Now a director of Fletcher Building, Tourism Holdings and Rangatira, she chairs Fertility Associates and is on the advisory board of Treasury and a member of the Auckland University council. She is a shareholder and director of a Waikato dairy operation.
Voting under the "first past the post" system closes on November 3. Results will be announced later that day.