July 14/Wellington, New Zealand/Reuters -- New Zealand dairy processor Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd appointed Theo Spierings as its new chief executive to replace the retiring Andrew Ferrier.

Spierings is a former head of the Dutch farmer dairy co-operative, Royal Friesland, which was merged with Campina in 2008.

He will take up the position in late September, replacing Ferrier, who has held the position for eight years.

Fonterra was created in 2001 from the merger of the country's two major processing companies, NZ Dairy Group and Kiwi Co-Operative Dairies, and their jointly owned export agency the NZ Dairy Board.

Fonterra also has opened a new research & development center in Amsterdam, its fourth such centre around the globe.

The opening concludes the migration of the New Zealand dairy cooperative’s European headquarters to Amsterdam. At the center, Fonterra is able to perform tests of new manufacturing processes and work together with partners on tailor-​made innovations. The center will employ 10 technical specialists.

According to Koert Liekelema, general manager of Fonterra Europe, Holland is the center of dairy and food developments: “At our new R&D Center, we can develop innovations more easily and market them quicker. The European consumer has very specific dairy wishes, and we can fulfill those wishes and needs even better and quicker out of Amsterdam.

“Europeans consume more dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese than consumers in other markets, and globally there’s greater awareness and attention on healthy and sustainable nutrition.”

From the July 14, 2011,Prepared Foods' Daily News.