CEO of Fonterra Theo Spierings has resigned after seven years in the role, following the dairy giant posting a loss of $348 million.
Mr Spierings says his resignation isn't related to the company taking a $405m dollar impairment after investing in Beingmate.
He says a cooperative like Fonterra needs a five to seven year commitment, and he’s unsure if he could deliver that again.
"It's normal succession and evolution of the company."
The announcement was expected in April but was brought forward, and Mr Spierings will leave the role later this year.
Fonterra began searching for a new CEO in November according to the board, and it's currently shortlising candidates.
Chairman John Wilson said: "We envisage that even after the announcement of our new CEO, Theo will be involved in an advisory role so that we make best use of his knowledge and expertise during the transition."
Mr Spierings was the highest earning CEO of any listed company in New Zealand, taking a $8.31 million pay cheque in 2017.
His pay included a base salary of $2.463m, benefits of $170,036 and incentives totalling $5.688m, according to the dairy co-operative's annual report last year.
Last year, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters called it a "fat cat payout".