New Zealand company Synlait’s founder John Penno is moving on after 12 years building the dairy firm.

Penno is looking to leave within the next year but will continue in a governance role as a director of the board.

Synlait’s chairman Graeme Milne said: “Penno had been an exceptional leader. But there was always going to be a time when he would move on to fresh challenges. I’m glad John’s decision has come at a time where we can provide a well-managed leadership transition. The company is in very healthy shape with a strong balance sheet and clear future growth plan.”