Mike Gallacher

Mike Gallacher

First Milk to boost its corporate governance by creating a smaller, more commercially-minded board and a new council body to oversee business strategy and represent farmer owners.

The dairy co-op said yesterday (26 October) that its board and area representatives had jointly agreed to proposals, which would “fundamentally” change the way the business is run. The new structure will be put to First Milk members for approval over the coming months.

Under the proposals, the board would be cut from nine to seven members, including an independent commercial chairman, two external commercial non-executive directors and two farmer directors, plus First Milk’s CEO Mike Gallacher and recently appointed COO Brian Mackie. 

A separate seven-member council would replace First Milk’s 13 area representatives, with an independent chair who has commercial experience appointed to ensure it was able to hold the board to account.

The creation of a board with appropriate commercial skills, knowledge and experience is consistent with the recommendations of an independent review of the business launched earlier this year by Gallacher.

It would ensure the co-op “avoids some of the pitfalls of recent years and hence can provide the best possible return to farmer members”, he said.

“This change continues the pace of transformation at First Milk, which has included the setting up of business units within the group, significant restructuring, a step improvement in the financial transparency of the business and a drive to focus on our core cheese and liquid contracts businesses,” Gallacher added.

It comes less than a week after First Milk announced the recruitment of industry veteran and ex- Müller Wiseman MD Carl Ravenhall as a non-executive director.