On the afternoon of Wednesday, 15 December, Sybren Attema, dairy farmer, vice-chairman of the Board of Zuivelcoöperatie FrieslandCampina U.A. and vice-chairman of the Supervisory Board of Royal FrieslandCampina N.V., was appointed Officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau. This honour was presented during the meeting of the FrieslandCampina Members’ Council, during which Sybren Attema retired as board member of the dairy cooperative after a period of 18 years.
The mayor of Wymbritseradiel, Mr Jacob Reitsma, pinned the ribbon on Sybren Attema, honouring him for his extraordinary contribution to Dutch dairy farming. Reitsma: “Mr Attema is an entrepreneur to be proud of and we’re proud of him in this region, too. But the choices he has made would not have been possible without support from the trusted home front.”
Career on the Board
Sybren Attema began his career on the Board in 1993 at Coöperatieve Zuivelindustrie De Goede Verwachting B.A., of which he had been a member dairy farmer since 1983. As a board member, he was involved in various mergers. In January 2000, he was elected vice-chairman of the Board and in December 2003, he was elected chairman of the Board of Zuivelcoöperatie Friesland Foods U.A. and with it also chairman of the Supervisory Board of Royal Friesland Foods N.V.
In the summer of 2007, Attema and Kees Wantenaar, chairman of the Board and the Supervisory Board of the co-operative dairy company Campina, took the initiative to explore the opportunities for a merger between Friesland Foods and Campina. The future significance of the Dutch dairy business played a large role in Attema’s initiative to enter into the merger. By jointly responding to the comprehensive liberalisation of global trade, the declining market support by the European Union, the globalisation of the markets, the national and European consolidation of supermarkets, the expansion of scale among competing dairy multinationals and the increasing focus on sustainability (landscape and the environment) in the dairy farming industry, he believed the interests of the Dutch dairy farming industry would be better served with the new merger rather than continuing with the status quo.
In 2009, Attema indicated that he did not wish to be considered for a new term of office and opted to retire on 15 December 2010.
In September 2010, it was announced that Attema would be closing his dairy farming business owing to the lack of a successor in the family. From 1 February 2011, he will be managing FrieslandCampina’s Dairy Development Programme. He and his wife will be settling in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.