CEO’s parting message

by Mike Isle

Synlait’s outgoing chief executive officer John Penno last week handed over the reins of the company to incoming CEO Leon Clement. However, before doing so, he had a special message for the people of Selwyn, and particularly those in Dunsandel where Synlait chose to build its first manufacturing plant.

Mr Penno is emphatic in his fondness for the area. He lived and farmed for a time on the north bank of the Rakaia river. When Synlait’s time came to buy its first farm, the choice of Dunsandel was for him a no-brainer.

“We were drawn to the area because of the great soils, fantastic water and proximity to amenities and infrastructure. Plus, in my experience there is no place better in the world for growing grass than the mid and north-Canterbury region,” he said.

“When we decided to get into the manufacturing business, the same drivers made Dunsandel the logical place to site our plant.”

Mr Penno says that from the start it has been a partnership between Synlait and the community.

“Synlait has been able to attract good people to the area, attracted by the lifestyle and the employment opportunities Synlait offers, and with 600 employees, many of whom are local, we have been able to make a major contribution to the economy.

“It’s also been our privilege to work with and assist community groups such as the fire service, schools and sports clubs.

“It’s been a privilege to lead a great team at Synlait and for Synlait to be part of this community. Best of all, it has really only just begun.”