Differing opinions between Moon Lake owner, directors and VDL Farms’ chief executive over how the business should be run led to a mass resignation on Tuesday.
Former deputy chair Dr David Crean and non-executive directors Keith Sutton, Rob Poole, Bruce Donnison and Simon Lyons have resigned.
In addition, VDL Farms’s chief executive Evan Rolley will not extend his contract beyond June 30, 2018, Dr Crean said.
“The non-executive directors are concerned that proper governance arrangements are not being considered in a proposed restructure of the company’s business interests in Tasmania by sole owner and Moon Lake chairman Mr Xianfeng Lu,” Dr Crean said in a statement.
Moon Lake’s non-executive directors outlined issues relating to the restructure and operation of 24 VDL farms in North-West Tasmania.
“The board, being responsible for overseeing the commercial and prudential operations of the VDL farms, could not convince the owner to adopt their recommendations on future management of the business,” Dr Crean said.
Moon Lake has been restructured to Chinese Ningbo Xianfeng New Material Co Ltd (APlus) and an Australian holding company will be set up to coordinate VDL Farms.
APlus is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
The strategic goal for APlus is to become a fully vertically integrated dairy business with quality dairy products sold internationally and domestically, Mr Lu said.
“We are of the view that the corporate governance structure of the Australian operations needed to change in order to best achieve these strategic goals in an effective and efficient manner,” he said.
The holding company’s board will appoint a new chief executive for the group and general manager for VDL Farms, but no dairy jobs will be lost in the North-West.
Moon Lake was created by Mr Lu specifically to buy the dairy farm, with the promise of an additional $100 million investment over five years to build the dairy operation’s job numbers from 140 to 235.