AN experienced leader will take the reins of the Terang and District Co-operative Limited.
Kevin Ford has been named as the co-op’s CEO and will begin his new role in March.
He replaces Charlie Duynhoven, who is retiring after 43 years with the business – the last 17 of those as general manager.
Chairman of the co-op board, Brendan Kenna, said filling the role had been a challenge.
“The board undertook a rigorous process, with considerable interest from a large field of quality candidates,” Mr Kenna said.
“We are delighted to appoint someone with extensive retail knowledge and a proven track record with co-ops and an understanding of their importance to local communities.”
Since 2012, Mr Ford has been CEO of the Mt Barker co-op in Western Australia.
A Terang delegation to Mt Barker five years ago was impressed with its operation and its similarities to Terang.
Mt Barker is a small town about 50km from a regional centre and includes an IGA supermarket, hardware and rural merchandise, along with a fuel operation.
Mr Kenna said Mr Ford has strong retail experience, a history of business development and an impressive record of working with staff, co-op members and the community.
“The co-operatives are very similar, the only significant difference is Mt Barker’s fuel business,” he said.
“After five years in Mt Barker, it’s time for a new challenge and moving to the east coast will also bring us closer to family in New Zealand.”
Mr Ford has international experience, including eight years with an owner-operated co-op in New Zealand.
“It’s quite different to the corporate world and has given me a good grounding,” Mr Ford said. “It taught me a lot about communication and signalling any change so members are aware of what’s happening and why.
“A retail co-op with about 2000 different bosses creates a different challenge.
“But it’s the same principle about getting the retail offer right and making sure we run an efficient and profitable business so the benefits come back to the community.”