The ex-chief executive of Fonterra, Craig Norgate, has died in the UK at the age of 50. …
Fonterra chairman John Wilson said: “It’s deeply upsetting to hear of Craig’s passing and our thoughts go out to his wife Jane, and children Dylan, Alexandria and Jordan.
“Craig played a key role in the formation of Fonterra and made a significant contribution to the Co-operative as our first CEO, helping bring together key players in the New Zealand dairy industry with the strategic vision he was known for. He remained a close and trusted friend and mentor to many of our people. …
“Craig had an outstanding career and, notwithstanding the heights of that career, he still remained firmly of the belief he was a boy from the ‘Naki.”
After Fonterra, Norgate was head of PGG Wrightson for six years.
Born in Hawera in 1965, he focused his career on the dairy industry after leaving school.
After studying at Massey University he moved to Hastings and took up his first management role at the Department of Maori Affairs at age 21.
He was there a year before returning to Taranaki with meat company Lowe Walker in 1987. He rose through the ranks quickly and then worked for a subsidiary of the Dairy Board, the Lactose Company, becoming CFO within six months.
He then took over as general manager of Kiwi Dairy, a role his father had held with the company. He stayed for 10 years, with the company’s turnover growing from $285 million to $4.4 billion before the creation of the dairy giant Fonterra in 2001.
Norgate was a former director of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union, from 2000 to 2002, and was co-opted onto the Taranaki Rugby Football Union in 2004, serving for 10 years until Taranaki shifted allegiance to the Chiefs in late 2013.
There was so much more he could have done. A very premature and sad death.