As news of Craig Norgate’s sudden death rippled around the world – friends, colleagues, and business partners took to social media to share their shock, grief, and war stories.
Norgate was Fonterra’s first CEO and a galvanic business leader who died at just 50.
NZ INC. checks in on some messages that paint a picture of this out-of-the-ordinary man.
“He was a strong member of our business community and will be remembered for his passion for the agricultural sector and leadership in the industry.
My thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”
-Prime Minister John Key
“It’s deeply upsetting to hear of Craig’s passing and our thoughts go out to his wife Jane, and children Dylan, Alexandria and Jordan.
Craig played a key role in the formation of Fonterra and made a significant contribution to the Co-operative as our first CEO, helping bring together key players in the New Zealand dairy industry with the strategic vision he was known for. He remained a close and trusted friend and mentor to many of our people.
Craig was a proud and passionate New Zealander who made a huge contribution to this country. He will be greatly missed.”
-Fonterra Chairman, John Wilson
Fran O’Sullivan writes in the New Zealand Herald about Craig’s bustling energy and charisma, his business success and desire to help others, as well as his love of his family and horse racing.
Here’s Businessdesk: Craig Norgate, who was inaugural chief executive of Fonterra Cooperative Group when it was formed from the merger of Kiwi Cooperative Dairies, NZ Cooperative Dairy Co and the NZ Dairy Board, has died in London.
Norgate ran New Zealand’s biggest dairy company for two years and then teamed up with the McConnon family to form Rural Portfolio Investments, which acquired a controlling stake in rural services group Wrightson, merging it with Pyne Gould Guinness in 2005 to form PGG Wrightson.
He was instrumental in the creation of NZ Farming Systems Uruguay, which aimed to repeat Fonterra’s success by developing dairy farms in South America using New Zealand farming techniques. His grand vision faltered in 2008, when Wrightson was caught by the credit squeeze from the global financial crisis in 2008 and was unable to settle an unconditional offer to buy a half stake in Silver Fern Farms for NZ$220 million.
Most recently he had responsibility for overseeing the merger of Chartered Accountants Australia with its New Zealand counterpart. He didn’t front for the current lawsuit taken against the accounting body by rival CPA Australia.
Sad to hear of passing of Craig Norgate, our 1st CEO who cared passionately about dairy and NZ agriculture. Our thoughts are with his family
— Fonterra (@Fonterra) July 7, 2015
— Denise Montgomery (@MontyWrites) July 7, 2015
Sad to hear about Craig Norgate's death. Dealt with him when he was CEO of Fonterra. Always positive & constructive on employment relations
— Andrew Little (@AndrewLittleMP) July 7, 2015
http://t.co/UbpOS4qAbr He was the best person I've ever worked for and with. I loved him and counted him as a friend.
— Shona Glentworth (@Implementnz) July 7, 2015
Craig Norgate was very nice to me when I worked in a restaurant years ago. Complimented the coffee, which was one of the first I ever made.
— Meg (@mfsloan) July 7, 2015
Holy heck. Reports former Fonterra chief exec Craig Norgate has died. Big loss for Taranaki http://t.co/PrIiF7Rxbp
— Jo Moir (@jo_moir) July 7, 2015