Norco's chief executive has resigned.
Norco's chief executive has resigned. Susanna Freymark

Norco loses another chief executive

AFTER less than six months into the top job, the Norco co-operative's newly hired chief executive has departed the business.

Ben White's resignation is the second sudden departure from the role, with Brett Kelly leaving in late September last year after almost 10 years at the head of the business.

While the 123-year-old business posted a modest $1.1 million profit from sales of almost $560 million last financial year, Norco is firmly in the black at a time when so many others in the industry are on the red side of the ledger.

Mr White's decision to exit Australia's second largest dairy co-op came in March, when he was in the middle of a series of get-to-know-you meetings with key industry representatives and Norco suppliers and identities.

Norco receives milk from some 215 suppliers in North Coast NSW and Queensland, has three plants at Lismore, Raleigh, and Labrador on the Gold Coast and has 30 rural supplies stores between Bundaberg in Queensland and NSW's Hunter Valley.

In an interview with The Northern Star last November, Mr White said it was an honour to join Norco.

"In just two weeks I have already learnt so much about this diverse agricultural co-operative,” he said.

"I look forward to working with the Norco team on strategies that will take Norco from good to great.”

But now it seems his sudden exit has come at a time when the northern NSW and southern Queensland dairy sector is going through troubling times.

Sources in the industry have said Norco has postponed further meetings until June by which time it will have set 2018-19 farmgate milk prices and completed a strategic plan.

Since Mr White's departure, chairman, Greg McNamara, has taken over executive responsibilities at the business, with senior management reporting directly to him.

Meanwhile, stalwart Kempsey district director, Mike Jeffery, has been appointed to the new role of deputy chairman the board.

Norco said the departure of Mr White had been amiable.

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