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Our people

Our people make the difference and drive our success

We bring a diverse team of people to the table, each with significant expertise and experience within their fields. Their leadership, energy and enthusiasm is evident in all that we do. We always do the right thing and are straight forward with each other.


We demonstrate integrity, respect and work as a team to build mutually beneficial relationships and partnerships.

Board of Directors

David Bortolussi


Managing Director and CEO of The a2 Milk Company
David joined The a2 Milk Company in February 2021 from his most recent role as Group President – International Innerwear, Hanesbrands. He joined Pacific Brands in 2009 initially as Chief Financial & Operating Officer taking over as CEO of the public company in 2014.

In 2016, Hanesbrands acquired Pacific Brands and expanded David’s role to cover Australasia and subsequently its international innerwear operations outside of the Americas.

Prior to this David spent five years at Foster’s Group, where he held the role of Chief Strategy Officer responsible for corporate strategy, M&A, business development and performance improvement. Prior to Foster’s Group, David held senior consulting roles at McKinsey & Company and PwC. David’s career has largely been focused on the Consumer and Retail sector in Australia and New Zealand complemented by significant international experience in various markets and categories in China, SE Asia, EU and the US.

Race Strauss


Chief Financial Officer, The a2 Milk Company
Race joined The a2 Milk Company in January 2020. He is responsible for the finance, IT, investor relations and strategy functions across the group. Race is an experienced finance executive with a strong packaged goods background as well as relevant international experience, particularly in China and other Asian regions.

Race spent over 20 years at Unilever where he held a variety of senior roles including Chief Financial Officer of Unilever Australasia and Vice President of Finance for South East Asia and Australasia.
More recently Race spent seven years in Chief Financial Officer roles with the Qantas Group, including at Jetstar and at Qantas Airlines.

Shareef Khan


Chief Operations Officer, The a2 Milk Company
Shareef joined the Group in June 2012. He is directly responsible for all supply chain, quality, operations and product development across the Group in each of our geographies, from farmers through to strategic processing and distribution partners and ultimately distribution to our customers.

Shareef has over 16 years’ senior management experience as a qualified supply chain professional. He is experienced across a number of industries, including fast moving consumer goods, infant nutrition, office products and construction.

Dr Tingwu Xue


President of China Animal Husbandry Group (the largest Chinese SOE in Animal Husbandry and the major shareholder of Mataura Valley Milk, BODCO Limited). Chairman of Mataura Valley Milk, BODCO Limited and Nouriz.

Dr. Xue has spent over 30 years in China’s animal husbandry industry and health/nutrition industry, demonstrated strong leadership, management skills and in-depth knowledge of markets.

Dr. Xue obtained his EMBA from the University of International Business and Economics and a bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Science from Nanjing Agricultural University.

Deyong Zhang


Chief Compliance Officer and General Manager of International Business of China Animal Husbandry Group (the largest Chinese SOE in Animal Husbandry and the major shareholder of Mataura Valley Milk, BODCO Limited). Director of Mataura Valley Milk and BODCO Limited MVM, BODCO.

Prior to working for the China Animal Husbandry Group, Mr. Zhang worked for the Ministry of Agriculture, the P.R.C. and has become the Chief Compliance Officer of China Animal Husbandry Group since 2013.

He has wide management experience and deep knowledge in international business culture.

Mr. Zhang holds bachelor’s Degrees in Economic Laws from Peking University.

Management Team

Bernard May


35 years of experience in the food and beverage industry.

New Zealand Institute of Directors – Certificate in Company Direction (2011).
New Zealand Certificate in Food Technology, Auckland Institute of Technology (1992).
New Zealand Certificate of Quality Assurance, New Zealand Quality Assurance Authority (1989)

Aidan Johnstone


42 years Accounting experience with 30 years in dairy manufacturing businesses.

Cost and Management Accountant (1987).
Chartered Accountant (1981).
Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) University of Canterbury (1981)

Simon Chisholm

GM Supply Chain

18 years Supply Chain Management experience within food and dairy manufacturing organisations.

Post Graduate Diploma in Business – 2004.
Bachelor of Forestry Science (Hons) – 1999

Sonia Morrison

HR & Office Manager

Sonia has 25 years’ experience in the travel industry and has previously owned & operated her own travel business in Gore.

Sonia’s focus is on people, relationship management, processes and procedures.

She is involved in a number of local community and charitable activities and was a founding member of the Gore Kids Hub Charitable Trust.

Steve Smith

GM Quality & Compliance

30 + years in the Dairy Industry with over 10 years in quality management roles.

Diploma in Dairy Technology, Massey University (1988).

Matt Steven

Technical Manager

15 years’ experience in multinational dairy and nutritional manufacturing.

PhD, Food Science, Cornell University, 2004.
Bachelor of Technology in Food Technology with First Class Honours, Massey University, New Zealand, 1997.

Mark O’Connor

Milk Supply Manager

Chris Houston

GM – Sales

Chris has been working either within the dairy sector in a supplier context with sales and marketing roles at both Amcor and Carter Holt Harvey Corrugated Packaging but more recently for the last 4.5 years at Synlait Milk as a Commercial Manager. His early career was in dairy production after completing a Dairy Diploma in Dairy Technology.

Chris has relevant Nutritionals sales and in-market business development experience. He and his family live in Christchurch. He is very excited to be joining the Mataura Valley Milk team.

Paddy McMyler

GM Operations