OUR PEOPLE

From our board to our farm staff, people are the lifeblood of our organisation. We want our people to be the best they can be and to help us operate our farms to the highest level possible. To ensure this is possible we work hard to develop a culture of excellence, promote career path opportunities within the company and provide positive working environments for all our people. We also offer development programmes, mentoring and regular performance reviews to all our staff. In return we are met with positive, eager staff who have a genuine desire to succeed.


Our Board

Mike Fleming
Chairman

Mike has been involved with Fortuna Group since inception where he has held the roles of Executive Chair, Managing Director, Director and appointed as Chair in Nov 20.

He has been involved with corporate and family-owned farming businesses for more than 20 years. These engagements have involved advisory roles, executive management roles and governance roles.

Mike is a member of the Fonterra Governance Development Programme Alumni and member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.

David Dodunski
Non-Independent Director & Company Advisor

David and his wife Kay are the founders of Fortuna Group. David held the role of Managing Director for two years before becoming Executive Director. Born in the Bay of Plenty and employed as a building apprentice in Rotorua, David moved on from building and tackled sharemilking on one of the steepest dairy farms in the country, starting with 31 cows on town supply and increasing to 160 cows on factory supply.

Over the past 20 years he has successfully converted and developed over 30 blocks of land and is currently milking 3500 cows, most 100 percent owned and some as joint ventures. He owns the support land on all of his dairy units, which have all been designed to a high standard with a genuine desire to look after the farmland.

Jane Huria
Independent Director

Jane has broad-based commercial experience including law, insurance, market research and the financial markets. Having held a broad range of directorships over the past 21 years, she has significant governance, strategy and organisation development experience.

Jane has worked with a wide range of clients from the public and private sectors and Iwi Maori organisations. Jane is Ngai Tahu and affiliates to Ngai Tuahuriri. She is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Directors and has written and delivered public and tailored training seminars for the Institute. Jane has also worked in governance throughout the Commonwealth and is a faculty member of the World Bank’s Global Corporate Governance Forum.

In 2012 Jane was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to corporate governance

Fiona Michel
Independent Director

Fiona has worked as a senior executive and director in the technology, banking, insurance, utilities, property and public sectors in New Zealand and internationally, accountable for human resources, payroll, property & facilities, health & safety, sustainability, and commercial business units. She has led significant health and safety and legislative workplace compliance in high risk and highly regulated private, public and listed organisations, and has won awards in New Zealand and Australia for achievement in human resources, leadership, ethics, culture transformation and industrial relationships.

Fiona has a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Auckland, is an alumnus of Harvard Business School and is a Chartered Member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors and a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Dr Tom Richardson
Independent Director

Tom was a scientist specialising in developing and commercialising molecular genetic techniques for plant and animal breeding and ecological applications before spending over 20 years in executive roles within the New Zealand and Australian science systems. These roles included the Chief Executive at AgResearch and the New Zealand Forestry Research Institute (Scion) and Chief of the Forests and Forest Products Division at Australia’s CSIRO.

Tom is a frequent contributor to advisory boards, international review panels and science and trade delegations, including both the NZ-USA and NZ-EU Joint Commissions on Science and Technology Co-Operation.He has held numerous industry, scientific and education governance roles over the past 15 years.

Tom has degrees from Bucknell University and Pennsylvania State University (PhD) and in 2013 was made a lifetime Alumni Fellow by Pennsylvania State University for his contributions to science.

Stuart Taylor
Non-Independent Director

Stuart spent his early years growing up on a Northland dairy property and completed a Degree in Agriculture and Rural Valuation, finishing his education at Massy University.

Following University Stuart worked with JD & RD Wallace in the Waikato, starting as Dairy Assistant and working through management positions on various farms, to equity management/ownership and then as General Manager.

In 2010 Stuart moved to the Rangitikei where he was CEO of a farming business that uses irrigation to transform sand soils to productive properties.

Stuart is currently the General Manager Farming for Craigmore.

Management

Matthew Richards
Chief Executive Officer

Matthew and his wife learned to farm when they spent three years in Foxton. They soon doubled their farm’s production record which initiated their dairy farming opportunities. They were given the opportunity to go 50/50 sharemilking with former employers who had moved to Southland.

The pair took up this challenge and have since grown their business each year. This has involved sharemilking, equity partnerships and farm ownership. In the five years before joining Fortuna Group, Matthew managed 2500 cows over three properties, gaining beneficial experience for his current role. He also has extensive involvement in board and chair roles of leading industry good organisations including the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, Federated Farmers, AgITO Regional Committee and Southern Dairy Development Trust.

Pete Bruce
Senior Operations Manager

A born and bred southern man, Pete started work on a sheep and beef farm straight out of school and advanced his skills in the industry with a Diploma of Agriculture and Bachelor of Commerce (Ag) at Lincoln University. He then gained two years’ experience on a 1,200 cow dairy farm in Canterbury before returning south to work on Dave and Kay’s home farm in 2004.

With his partner Melinda, Pete bought into Peat View Dairies in 2011 and took over the role as full time supervisor with Fortuna Group in early 2015. Pete loves being a dad to Mia and Toby and when he catches a spare moment, he enjoys relaxing in the garden.

Bryony Sanson
Chief Financial Officer

After first arriving in NZ 14 years ago onto a dairy farm in Reefton, Bryony has come full circle and returned to the dairy sector to continue to pursue her interest in farming. Bryony grew up on a banana farm in South Africa and always had a goal to return to a career in farming once she had the required experience. Bryony moved to Hamilton after calving and returned to working in the accounting field for ABB before moving to NDA for 8 years where she was the NZ finance manager as well as holding the role of Group Accountant and looking after the audit and finance aspects for NDA as it grew from being NZ based to purchasing engineering shops in the US and Australia. Bryony’s interest in farming and animals motivated her to move to VetSouth where she was the CFO for a business that was in a strong growth position, oversaw the acquisition of another veterinary clinic and set up reporting structures to assist the business to reach its strategic objectives. Bryony is looking forward to working with all stakeholders in Fortuna to make Fortuna the best dairy farming business that delivers on all aspects of its purpose every day.