Brownes MD quits
Leading milk processor Brownes and managing director Ben Purcell have parted ways after a turbulent few years in the WA dairy industry.
Private equity firm Archer Capital appointed Mr Purcell to grow the Brownes business but it has been a rocky ride for the former chief financial officer at alcohol distribution company Brown-Forman.
His departure comes as Archer tries to sell Brownes just four years after buying the Balcatta-based business from New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra.
Brownes has started the search for a replacement. Chief financial officer Craig Wood has been appointed acting managing director.
It is understood Mr Purcell, his English wife and their young children are considering moving to Britain for career and family reasons.
"Ben has worked tirelessly over the last four years and has managed the business through significant change," a Brownes spokeswoman said.
"Amid a challenging trading environment, the business has made commercial progress - partnering with Woolworths, A2 Corporation and Aldi, and has commenced export into new markets of Hong Kong and Singapore."
Mr Purcell's reign coincided with one of the most severe shortfalls in milk supply in WA history. He upset key suppliers last year by offering a handful of farmers higher prices for their milk. It is understood Brownes' biggest supplier, Lactanz Dairies near Scott River, is close to being sold.
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