Fonterra and its farmers are mourning the loss of their former Chairman John Wilson, who has died after what's been described as a hard-fought battle with illness.
In July last year, John Wilson announced his intention to step down from the role of chairman to focus on his health. He then retired from the Co-operative's Board at its Annual Meeting last November.
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In a note to the Co-operative's farmer-owners, Fonterra chairman John Monaghan said Mr Wilson was a man whose dedication and commitment to the Co-operative ran deep.
"We owe John and his family a debt of gratitude for all the time, energy and sheer hard graft he gave us as a farmer-owner, inaugural Chairman of the Fonterra Shareholder's Council on merger, as a Farmer Elected Director from 2003, and as our Chairman from 2012," he said.
"John always brought dedication, commitment, and deep dairy knowledge to each of the representation and governance roles in which he served," said Mr Monaghan.
"On behalf of his fellow farmers, he was the ultimate advocate for what we stand for."
"We have lost a friend, colleague, leader and champion for our industry much too soon. Our thoughts and deep gratitude for all that he contributed go to his family and friends."
Mr Wilson is survived by his wife Belinda and four daughters, Sophie, Victoria and twins Tessa and Libby.