Mike Gallacher will step down as chief executive to be replaced by Shelagh Hancock
First Milk has announced Shelagh Hancock will replace Mike Gallacher as chief executive.
Mr Gallacher will step down after two years with the company during its recent turnaround driving a £30 million improvement in the financial performance of the cooperative.
Ms Hancock has over 25 years’ experience within the food and agricultural supply sector including roles at Milk Link and Glanbia. Her most recent position was managing director at Medina Dairy.
Chairman Clive Sharpe said: “Mike has led First Milk through a period of huge change, with enormous levels of energy and focus.
“In addition to delivering a real transformation in our business performance he has also built an effective team and put in place the modern governance processes that will underpin our future success,” he said.
“Mike’s departure is not a surprise as he has been open about his plans.
“On behalf of the members and the Board, I want to express our appreciation for the outstanding results he has delivered.”
Mr Gallacher said: “I am very proud of the huge progress made by all First Milk employees in transforming the business and in delivering improved results for our members.
“First Milk is now a very different business and customers and members can be confident in its future as a British Dairy Co-op.”
He added he would work together with Ms Hancock to ensure a smooth transition.
Shelagh Hancock said she was ‘delighted’ to be back working for a cooperative.
“I strongly believe that First Milk has got a bright future and as a British farmer owned co-op we’ve got great credentials to build on.
“There are still further opportunities to develop the core business and I am confident that we can continue to build a strong and vibrant co-operative capable of creating value for its customers, and most importantly for our members.’’
NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said it will be sitting down and discussing her vision for the business 'as soon as diaries allow'.
“The Union has spoken to Shelagh this morning and congratulated her on her appointment to the top job at First Milk, a co-operative that remains hugely important to the Scottish dairy sector," he said.
“With a decade at the co-operative Milk Link and further industry experience, including milk brokerage, gleaned at Medina, Shelagh comes with a great depth of experience that will be hugely valuable at this challenging time for First Milk members, and the dairy sector in general.
He encouraged producers to meet with her at the next round of producer meetings.
“As Shelagh takes up the role, the difficult work carried out by Mike Gallacher in turning round the business merits recognition.
"The business and financial footing of First Milk are now significantly more robust but that period of change, coinciding with a major downturn in the dairy sector, made that a very painful time for members’ businesses.
“With First Milk now on a firmer footing, members will be keen to hear at the forthcoming meetings what that may mean for their milk price moving forward,” he added.