People on the Move: Appointments, retirements, achievements

Jon Condon, 23/09/2020

Beef Central publishes an occasional summary of appointments, departures and achievements occurring across the red meat and livestock supply chain. Send details for entries to

  • Two senior analysts depart MLA
  • Veteran meat sales exec Ian Ball calls time
  • NH Foods livestock manager moves to new role at Elders Killara
  • Executive changes at Mort
  • David Hill steps down after six years on CCA
  • WWF’s Ian McConnel takes on sustainability role with major US processor
  • Minerva Foods Asia appoints local directors
  • Former NTCA president aligns with global property agency Knight Frank
  • New CEO for FarmGate online Auctions
  • Plant-based food manufacturer attracts former senior CSIRO scientist
  • Elders branch management appointments in Qld
  • New senior execs for Woolies


Senior analysts depart MLA

Two of Meat & Livestock Australia’s senior market analysts have recently left the industry service delivery company.

Scott Tolmie, who has been MLA’s market intelligence manager for the past three years, has moved on, taking a position as category director with global mattress and furniture manufacturer Koala. Mr Tolmie joined MLA in September 2017, replacing Ben Thomas as chief analyst.

Vereena Rooney

Replacing him as MLA’s manager for market insights is Vereena Rooney. Vereena has a PhD in ruminant nutrition and originally studied a bachelor of science in agriculture. She has extensive experience across the cattle industry working in pharmaceutical companies including Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, Zoetis/Pfizer Animal Health, and Elanco.

Vereena has had roles across sales, new product development, brand management and marketing. From these roles, she has had experience in identifying industry specific insights using market research, market intelligence and understanding of commercial opportunities to support business strategy. She has had experience in working in and leading projects in cross-functional teams, and leading planning processes.

Also recently leaving MLA was market information manager Adam Cheetham, who spent four years with the industry service delivery company, including terms as global market analyst, senior market analyst and manager of market information.

Mr Cheetham has moved to a newly-created role with NH Foods Australia, based at the company’s head office in Sydney. His role is business operations advisor, where he will be involved in assessing market opportunities, maximising returns across the NH Foods business groups and developing future strategy. He will operate within the marketing and sales team headed by Andrew McDonald.

Veteran meat sales exec Ian Ball calls time

Respected meat sales executive Ian Ball has recently called time on a lengthy and distinguished industry career.

Mr Ball is widely respected by both competitors and work colleagues alike, having built up vast knowledge and contacts across the global meat trade over the past 46 years. He will be well-known to many Beef Central readers, especially those closer to the international meat trade.

He finished up three weeks ago as meat marketing manager with southern Queensland export meat processor, John Dee last month, where he has worked for the past 11 years.

Mr Ball cut his teeth joining Borthwicks at its Albany plant in Western Australia in 1974, initially in a plant operations role. He quickly found his ‘true calling’ in meat sales in 1983, working for Borthwicks through to 1996 when the company was taken over by Nippon Meat Packers. He then moved to Adelaide selling domestic beef and lamb, before returning to Queensland in 1999, initially joining Q-Sun, a subsidiary of the old cooperatively owned South Burnett Meatworks, and when it folded, joined Stanbroke Beef in a meat sales management role until 2008. He joined John Dee at Warwick, where he spent the rest of his career, in early 2009.

Working in conjunction with Frank Hart, based in Japan, and James Ehrbacher, Mr Ball was closely involved in the development of John Dee’s portfolio of quality beef brands, and expanding the company’s original close alignment with the Japanese and Korean markets to sell quality grainfed chilled beef worldwide, including the EU, China and North America. Prior to that phase, John Dee traditionally sold through brokers, rather than engaging directly with end customers.

Among all the skilful and effective meat sales people he worked with, and/or competed against, the person he admired the most in the industry was Peter White.

“Peter was by far the best lateral thinker I ever saw in the meat industry, when it came to markets, market access and marketing. He was brilliant,” he told Beef Central.

Appointed recently to fill Ian’s role as marketing manager at John Dee is Chris Lacey, who joined John Dee from a meat sales management role at Thomas Foods International.  Mr Lacey originally started with John Dee back in 1996, before working overseas in the US including Foodcomm and other companies, before joining Ruprecht. He returned to Australia around 2015, working initially for Ruprecht before accepting a position as marketing manager for TFI at Murray Bridge.

NH Foods livestock manager moves to new role at Elders Killara

Stephen Moy

NH Foods group livestock manager Stephen Moy recently parted ways with the company, moving to a livestock procurement role with Elders feedlot division in NSW.

At NH Foods, his role covered both slaughter cattle for the company’s plants at Oakey and Wingham, together with feeder and backgrounder requirements for the Whyalla feedlot near Texas. His new role at Elders Killara is as livestock procurement and supply chain manager, responsible for the yard’s  feeder cattle and backgrounder cattle requirements. He takes up his new position in mid-October.

Mr Moy replaces Killara’s current procurement manager Nick Hall, who has left Elders to take up an agency role based out of Walcha in northern NSW.  NH Foods has not announced a replacement.

Executive changes at Mort

In preparation for future growth and expansion, Queensland grainfed beef supply chain Mort & Co has announced some changes within its executive structure.

Scott McDouall

General manager of meat & livestock, Scott McDouall, will step into the newly-created position of general manager – strategy & growth. In this role, Scott, together with the executive team, will be identifying and creating new, value-driven opportunities in all divisions of Mort & Co, including complementary businesses and partnerships. Scott will continue to maintain responsibility for Mort & Co meat and the marketing and communications department.

As a result of Scott’s new role, Brett Campbell has been promoted to the executive team as general manager – livestock & logistics. Brett will be responsible for all livestock occupancy and supply chain management across the Mort & Co business.

David Hill steps down after six years on CCA

AFTER six years serving as Cattle Council of Australia’s inaugural independent board director for northern Australia, Central Queensland cattle producer David Hill has confirmed he will not be standing for re-election at this year’s CCA AGM, to be held online on 18 November.

David Hill

CCA expanded its board to include two independent director seats for northern and southern Australia in October 2014 as part of moves designed to provide a more representative Cattle Council. In his six years in the role, Mr Hill has been a prominent and hard-working advocate for grassroots cattle producers across northern Australia, and has provided a strong independent voice for producers on issues in keeping with responsibilities of the role.

CCA announced yesterday that in accordance with rotational board positions it is now calling for director nominations from four state farming organisations – AgForce, Livestock SA, WA Farmers Federation and Victorian Farmers Federation – and the independent north and south positions. Nominations for the independent north and independent south director nominations are due by Wednesday 7 October and must be supported by 20 direct members. To register for the AGM, being held this year via the Microsoft Teams platform, or for help signing into the CCA website for online voting, email or call 1300 653 038.

WWF’s Ian McConnel takes on sustainability role with major US processor

Ian McConnel has been named as the director of sustainable beef for the Asia Pacific region for the world’s second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork – US-based Tyson Foods.

Ian McConnel addressing the 2019 Northern Territory Cattlemens’ Association conference in Darwin

Raised on his family’s Mt Brisbane Droughtmaster Stud west of Brisbane, Mr McConnel is a former Cattle Council of Australia National Rising Champion and Queensland Rural Ambassador (2011) and Queensland Government beef extension officer. He has spent the past eight years working in beef sustainability roles with the World Wildlife Fund, including the past four years as WWF Global Commodity Lead- Beef. In that role Ian’s responsibilities were to lead the global WWF networks approach to creating and communicating a more sustainable global beef industry.

In 2018, Tyson Foods became the first US protein company to license Progressive Beef, the largest-ever cattle management and sustainability program for feedlot operators, and Tyson Foods recently announced it has become the first US food company to verify sustainable cattle production practices at scale.

Minerva Foods Asia appoints local directors

Ross Keane

South American beef processing giant Minerva Foods, which operates a sales office subsidiary out of Brisbane selling Australian, New Zealand and South American beef and sheepmeat and by products, principally into Asia, has recently appointed two well-known Australian industry identities to its Minerva Foods Asia board.

Joining as advisory non-executive directors are former Red Meat Advisory Council chairman and JBS livestock general manager Ross Keane, and Asian meat sales executive Mark Bennison.

Mr Bennison worked in Japan since the early 1990s, selling meat for many years for Sanger Australia and most recently as Bindaree Beef general manager for sales and production. The pair join former JBS Australia chief executive and current CEO of Minerva subsidiary, Athena Foods, Iain Mars, on the board.

About five years ago Minerva bought Brisbane based meat wholesale and export business, IMT. See today’s second story on Minerva subsidiary, Athena Foods’ proposed float and expansion.

Former NTCA president aligns with global property agency

Former NT Cattlemens Association president and northern pastoral consultant David Warriner has aligned his Agricon business with large property marketing entity Knight Frank.

David Warriner

“The time is right to explore the clearly present synergistic opportunities, for both parties, Knight Frank Australia said in a statement.

The move comes as Knight Frank continues to roll out its Australian agribusiness agency business, establishing its footprint with offices in Tasmania, NSW, Qld and the Northern Territory. Both Knight Frank and Mr Warriner’s Agricon have operated in Northern Australia for many years.

Mr Warriner said for the first time, sellers, buyers, and owners of agricultural and rural land could now be provided with full service across the acquisition, ownership & management phases, and sale of assets. “It is a powerful combination, linking us to locations where our clients need us to be,” he said. “Knight Frank provides a worldwide service that’s locally expert and globally informed – one that allows us to connect people and property, perfectly.”

Knight Frank already has established business in Rockhampton, Townsville, Cairns and throughout Northern Queensland and Western Australia. The company sold several of the CPC properties during 2019.

New CEO for FarmGate online Auctions

Online livestock marketing platform FarmGate Auctions has announced the appointment of Nigel Gosse as the business’s chief executive officer.

Mr Gosse has worked across domestic and international livestock and wool supply chains in various industry roles involving strategy, operations, marketing, and business development. Originating from a family farming business in South Australia’s Mid North, he has held senior roles with industry bodies Australian Wool Innovation, and Meat & Livestock Australia, together with rural media and communications consultancies.

Prior to joining FarmGate Auctions, Nigel was general manager operations at AWI and before this worked for MLA for seven years, including terms in the Middle East and as business development manager for Europe and Russia. His new role will include responsibility for strategy, industry-leading technology and driving strategic partnerships.

“We were looking for someone to take our business forward and Nigel is a well-respected, well-connected family man who adheres to our values,” FarmGate Auctions director and founder Guy Gallen said. “With the closure of borders and number restrictions at saleyards across the country, COVID-19 has really shone a light on the benefits of selling livestock online and through Nigel’s leadership FarmGate Auctions is determined to be a strong contender in this space,”

Mr Gosse also joins his younger brother Jock at FarmGate Auctions, who is the company’s national sales director.

Plant based food manufacturer attracts former senior CSIRO scientist

Australian plant-based meat startup v2food has appointed internationally-recognised food scientist and CSIRO veteran Professor Martin Cole as its new chief scientific advisor.

martin cole

Prof Cole has more than 20 years’ experience leading research in food and agriculture, spanning the private sector, government and academia. Prior to joining v2food, he served as deputy director of CSIRO agriculture & food, and spent ten years leading projects in various areas including food safety, novel processing and nutritional food security. At CSIRO, he led programs on supply chains and plant-based proteins, through which v2food came to fruition.

He is also an advisor of the UN Food Security Committee and a board member of Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

As v2food’s chief scientific advisor, Prof Cole will draw on his experience and networks, as well as the University of Adelaide’s research on grain and legume breeding. “This is vital for the development of an Australian supply chain to fuel v2’s expansion and help meet soaring global demand for plant-based meat,” a statement said.

“The global demand for plant-based proteins is astronomical, and this provides a major opportunity for Australia to take a global leadership role,” Prof Cole said. “As a nation, we are globally competitive on grain and meat exports, however, we can be delivering far greater value out of the raw commodities we produce. That’s where v2food comes in. Grounded in CSIRO science and with the expertise of Nick Hazell at the helm, v2 wants to take Australian plant-based meat to the world and this means adding even more value to Australian agriculture,” he said.

Along with Prof Cole’s appointment, v2food has announced 22 new hires over recent months. The bolstered team, with expertise across marketing, sales, operations and manufacturing will be pivotal to helping advance the company’s commitment to sustainability and help scale v2 to meet demand, the company said.

Elders branch management appointments in Qld

Elders has made two important branch management staff appointments in Queensland.

Waratah Fencing’s Lachlan Radford will step into the role of Elders St George and Dirranbandi branch manager as incumbent Andrew Gaske moves on after 14 years with Elders.

Mr Radford, who grew up in the St George area, said he was looking forward to sinking his teeth into the new role. Bringing experience as a livestock agent in the Cloncurry and Charters Towers areas, he was drawn to the expanding farm supplies business.

“It’s more than just a change of role for me,” Mr Radford said. “Being a St George boy and now having a family here with me, I was looking for something more long-term. When the opportunity came up to become a part of the Elders team, both at St George and Dirranbandi, it was perfect timing.”

Outgoing branch manager Andrew Gaske started his Elders journey in Toowoomba but was drawn to the livestock opportunities at the St George branch, where he has been since 2013. Mr Gaske will move to support his family as his wife, Fiona, stands for a seat at Queensland’s next state election.

Megan Bayles

In a second recent Elders branch management appointment, former Cassilis Station (NSW) property manager Megan Bayles steps up as the company’s new Meandarra branch manager.

Ms Bayles, whose experience also includes four years as livestock manager for AACo’s Aronui feedlot on the Darling Downs, said she was keen to sink her teeth into Elders’ networks, get her hands dirty helping current clients in her branch area, and also try to build up more clients, with her strong nutritional background.

“At the end of the day, when we can get successful quality results for our clients and their livestock, both parties win. That’s what sealed the deal for me; having the range and diversity to work in by being a part of the Elders community.”

Elders area manager Bruce McLeish described Ms Bayles as “an exciting new recruit.”

“As branch manager, Megan brings with her a background in livestock nutrition, property management and agtech,” he said. “Recruits like Megan are ideal for introducing to the Elders network.”

New senior execs for Woolies

Woolworths Group has announced moves within its leadership team to “better support its evolution into a Food and Everyday Needs Ecosystem.”

Current managing director of Woolworths Supermarkets, Claire Peters, will take up a new position as managing director of B2B and Everyday Needs. In this role, she will take leadership of Woolworths Group’s portfolio businesses including BIG W, Woolworths International, Wholesale and Property. Ms Peters will also take stewardship of the Group’s new partnership with PFD Food Services and join the Investment Committee of venture capital arm, W23.

“Claire has successfully led the ongoing transformation of Woolworths Supermarkets over the last three years,” Woolworths group CEO Brad Banducci said.

“During her leadership we have seen significant increases in customer and brand metrics, implemented a new store operating model to better serve changing customer needs, implemented the foundation phases of Fresh Made Easy, evolved our store formats and materially improved supplier engagement. In more recent times, Claire has played a critical role in helping the Group navigate through COVID.”

After two years as managing director of Woolworths New Zealand, Natalie Davis will return to Australia from October and assume the role of managing director of Woolworths Supermarkets


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  1. Anita Lethbridge, 25/09/2020

    Thanks David for your commitment, clear grass roots thinking and common sense. Very big shoes to fill.

  2. Ian McCamley, 23/09/2020

    Thanks for all you time and effort David Hill. Beef producers hope you will continue to work on dismantling Australia’s infamous ‘self imposed barriers to trade’!

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