Rabobank Australia Limited has announced the appointment of Sir Henry van der Heyden as its new chairman, succeeding Bill Gurry who will be retiring from the board.
The appointment will be effective from November 29 2017, with Bill Gurry to remain as a member of the board until a later date to be announced.
Sir Henry is chairman of Rabobank New Zealand Limited and has been a member of the Rabobank Australia board since 2012.
Announcing the appointment, chairman of the global Rabobank Group Wiebe Draijer said Sir Henry’s extensive knowledge and experience as an international agribusiness leader and company director, coupled with his strong understanding of Rabobank Australia and its market, made him a natural successor in the role.
The former chairman of global dairy giant Fonterra Co-operative Group (from 2002 until 2012), Sir Henry was a key architect in the formation of the Fonterra cooperative and is one of the most skilled and respected leaders in agribusiness in the Australasian region, Mr Draijer said.
“Henry’s skills and experience as a business leader, along with his passion for agriculture and his deep knowledge and understanding of Rabobank and our unique cooperative banking model, will allow for a smooth transition at the helm of the board from Bill Gurry, who has been an outstanding chairman.”
The world’s specialist food and agribusiness bank, Rabobank is one of Australia’s largest agricultural lenders and a major provider of corporate and business banking services to the country’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank also operates online retail savings and deposits business RaboDirect.
Mr Draijer thanked retiring Rabobank Australia chairman Bill Gurry for his “exceptional tenure” on the bank’s board, overseeing more than a decade of extraordinary growth in the business.
“Bill has made an absolutely outstanding contribution during his time with Rabobank – the past more than eight and a half years in the role of chairman of Rabobank Australia and serving on the boards of both Rabobank Australia and Rabobank New Zealand for more than 12 years,” he said.
Mr Gurry, a highly-experienced company director, previously held a number of senior roles in the financial services industry, including executive chairman of UBS Australia, CEO of Potter Warburg and managing director of National Mutual Royal Bank.
Mr Gurry said he had been delighted to have had such strong and close involvement with the agricultural sector through his time with Rabobank.
“It has been a delight and a privilege to be involved at such a senior level with the clients, executive team and staff of Rabobank, which is an outstanding contributor to the Australasian agricultural industries,” he said.
Henry van der Heyden currently serves as chairman of Auckland International Airport Limited, Manuka SA and Tainui Group Holdings, the commercial arm of tribal organisation Waikato-Tainui. He also sits on the boards of Foodstuffs North Island and Pascaro Investments.
Sir Henry was named 2007 New Zealand Herald Business Person of the Year, 2012 New Zealand Chairman of the Year and received the trans-Tasman Rabobank Agribusiness Leadership Award in 2015. In 2007 he was appointed a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to agriculture.
A career-long dairy farmer, Sir Henry and his family continue to run substantial dairy operations in New Zealand’s Central North Island.
Sir Henry said he was greatly looking forward to taking on the role of chairman of Rabobank Australia, and honoured to be following in the footsteps of Bill Gurry.
“Bill has done a stellar job in this role for the best part of a decade and it has been a great privilege working alongside him on the board,” he said.
“I’m very much looking forward to taking on the chairmanship of the Rabobank Australia board at such an exciting time of growth for the agricultural sector.”
Other members of Rabobank Australia’s board are Anne Brennan, Andy Borland, Berry Marttin, Geerten Battjes, Sander Pruis and Rabobank Australia CEO Peter Knoblanche.
Featured Image: Sir Henry van der Heyden
Image courtesy of Rabobank