Our Senior Leadership Team are highly skilled and committed to our vision of becoming the world’s most innovative and trusted dairy company. The team is led by our Managing Director and CEO, Dr John Penno, and consists of an Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and senior executives.

Dr John Penno

Managing Director and CEO (ELT)

John co-founded the Synlait Group in 2000 and has been a full-time executive for the Synlait Group since 2006. As CEO, John is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the company and supporting the Senior Leadership Team to deliver against this direction in their areas. As Managing Director, John contributes to the governance of Synlait alongside our Directors on the Board. After completing an Agricultural Science degree, John commenced his career in the dairy industry as a consulting officer for the New Zealand Dairy Board before joining Dexcel as a research scientist where he completed a PhD in animal science. As a scientist and research program leader he worked to enable New Zealand dairy farmers to increase productivity and profit. In 2009, John received an emerging leader’s award from the Sir Peter Blake Trust and the Excellence in Leadership award at the 2015 New Zealand International Business Awards.

Nigel Greenwood

Chief Financial Officer (ELT)

Nigel has had extensive experience in finance, having held senior executive finance roles with various New Zealand companies. As CFO, Nigel is responsible for finance, funding, legal, information technology and strategy. Prior to joining Synlait in 2010, Nigel held CFO roles with Crane Distribution NZ Limited, Gough Group Limited and Lyttelton Port Company Limited. Nigel is a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and the Institute of Directors. Nigel holds a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting and has completed the General Manager Program at the University of Michigan.

Matthew Foster

General Manager, Supply Chain

Matthew joined Synlait in February 2012 and is responsible for managing and developing Synlait Milk’s operations from milk supplier to customer. He brings a wealth of supply chain management and dairy industry experience to Synlait Milk Ltd through a 20 year career with the New Zealand Dairy Board and Fonterra, where he held senior management positions in the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, the Americas and New Zealand. Before joining Synlait Milk, Matthew was CEO at NZL Group and prior to that General Manager Commercial for Tasman Orient Line. Matthew is a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and holds a Bachelor of Management Studies from the University of Waikato.

Rob Stowell

General Manager, Integrated Business Planning

Rob joined Synlait in 2007 and is responsible for leading, implementing and managing integrated business planning (IBP) at Synlait. Having previously held roles within finance and commercial areas of the business and most recently managing Synlait’s sales and operations planning (S&OP) processes, Rob has an intimate understanding of the business and contributes a wealth of financial and operations planning knowledge to the Senior Leadership Team. With nearly 20 years of international financial and commercial management experience, Rob has held prior senior roles with Transport for London, PlaneStation Group and Liberty Syndicates. Rob is a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and holds both a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting and a Graduate Diploma in finance from the University of Otago.

Chris France


Chris brings more than 30 years’ business experience to Synlait and provides expertise in strategic planning, leadership and developing high performing teams. Chris joined Synlait in 2015 and previously held senior management roles at Deloitte, IAG New Zealand, AMI Insurance and KPMG. His background in management consulting includes leading significant programmes of work across a wide range of industries. Chris holds a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting and a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.

Martijn Jager


Martijn joined Synlait in September 2016 to champion an integrated focus on business development strategy. In this newly created role, he oversees strategy realisation across major new customer acquisitions, as well as product development, marketing, research and communications functions. Martijn’s 20 years of work experience in the international dairy industry includes various senior commercial roles with FrieslandCampina. His insights of value-added dairy in B2C and B2B market segments range from medical foods, infant formula and pharmaceutical excipients to traditional dairy and feed products. Martijn has lived and worked in the Asia Pacific since 2002 and he holds a Bachelor of Business in international marketing and management.

Quentin Lowcay

General Counsel and Commercial Manager

Quentin joined Synlait in 2013 and is responsible for legal affairs, risk, corporate governance, insurance and commercial matters – particularly customer and supplier relationships. Quentin has more than 20 years of legal experience as a corporate and commercial lawyer, having been a partner in several leading New Zealand law firms. He has worked around the world throughout the UK, Europe, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, India and the US. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration in accounting and a Bachelor of Laws from Victoria University of Wellington. He is a qualified solicitor in New Zealand and Australia, is an appointed Notary Public and has various risk, governance and compliance qualifications.

Boyd Williams


A senior international human resources executive, Boyd brings more than 30 years of experience to Synlait’s Senior Leadership Team. He oversees the organisational development, human resource, health and safety, corporate communications, administration and staff facilities functions. Boyd started his career with Unilever and worked in senior roles throughout Taiwan, the Netherlands, Australia and Singapore. He joined DHL Express in Singapore in 2005, providing strategic human resources leadership across 130 countries for 50,000 employees. Following this, he became Chief Human Resources Officer for Foster’s Group in 2010 and then joined the University of Sydney in 2012 as Human Resources Director. Prior to joining Synlait, he was Human Resources Director (Asia Pacific) for Bacardi Group, a global business with more than 200 brands and net sales in excess of $4.5 billion. Boyd holds a Bachelor of Economics from The University of Sydney.