MLA senior manager to take over Herefords Australia CEO role

James Nason, 29/11/2022

A change in the leadership of Herefords Australia has been announced today with senior Meat & livestock Australia executive Michael Crowley to take over as Chief Executive Officer from March next year.

Mr Crowley (right) will replace former MLA marketing chief Lisa Sharp, whose contract appointment at the helm of the breed society ends in March.

Ms Sharp will continue as a member of the Herefords Australia Board.

Mr Crowley has been with MLA for 14 years and has served as a member of the senior executive team for the past six years.

He is currently serving as general manager of Research and Development and has previously held a range of senior roles with MLA, including program manager of Meat Standards Australia and regional manager for Europe and Russia based in Brussels.

Personal interest, professional interest and family reasons were all factors in his decision to take on a new challenge as CEO of Herefords Australia, he told Beef Central today.

Mr Crowley’s family runs a Poll Hereford Stud at Barraba, about two hours drive from his home in Armidale. He has also been a member of the Herefords Australia Ltd board for the past two years.

Mr Crowley said the move to step up to run an organisation in a position “where the buck stops with me” represented a good development and career progression opportunity.

“I have really been offered a tremendous opportunity to contribute to the development of the breed,” he said.

“And I guess just working in MLA across the supply chain I have got a great opportunity to be part of implementing and commecialising a lot of the things we have been working on for the benefit of the commercial sector.

“I am really keen to work with members of Hereford Australia and to really try to connect with the commercial supply chain and drive great outcomes, it is a really unique and priveleged opportunity.”

Mr Crowley’s 20 years of industry experience includes previous ownership of a cattle and beef marketing business and property management covering stud and commercial operations.

Chair of Herefords Australia, Ian Durkin, said it was Mr Crowley’s combination of general management experience, technical knowledge and infinity and connection with the Hereford breed and stud operations that most impressed the Board.

“Michael Crowley has a wealth of red meat industry experience. This includes comprehensive technical knowledge in areas such as genetics and eating quality, coupled with firsthand experience gained in stud and commercial operations. Michael and the Crowley family are well known amongst the Hereford community, and we are thrilled the opportunity has arisen for Michael to come in and lead the company and the breed.”

Mr Durkin said Lisa Sharp had made “a significant contribution to the breed” over the last two years, leading long term strategy development, business planning, excellence in corporate governance and breed marketing and promotion.

“Changes implemented under Lisa’s leadership have and will make a long-term difference to the company’s success,” he said.

“Specifically, I like to acknowledge Lisa’s work in streamlining systems and processes that allowed for the introduction of a single monthly invoice, the development of the Herefords Australia 5-year plan, growth in revenue from services and breed marketing presence and effectiveness – which saw breed share of media increase significantly in the last year.

“Lisa has also advocated on behalf of members, be that to government during COVID for continuation of on property sales or when negotiating with suppliers to get the best value for members, such as no increases in DNA pricing this year.”

Mr Crowley commences his position as CEO of Herefords Australia 1 March 2023 and will be based in Armidale NSW. Ms Sharp will remain the CEO until that time and will commence her role as a director of Herefords Australia in March 2023.
Herefords Australia Ltd has a membership of approximately 1500, and provides a range of services to seedstock operators and commercial producers across the nation. These services include animal records and registry, DNA testing, BREEDPLAN services and

EBVs, and marketing and promotional support. The company also undertakes R&D and extension activities to enhance breed genetic performance.

The current Herefords Australia Board comprises Ian Durkin (Chair), Marc Greening (Deputy Chair), Mark Baker (Company Secretary), Sam Becker, Sam Broinowski, Michael Crowley, Mark Duthie, Annie Pumpa and Alex Sparkes.

Hunt for new ABBA CEO

Anastasia Fanning

In other breed society leadership news, today is Anastasia Fanning’s final day as general manager of the Australian Brahman Breeder’s Association.

Ms Fanning has made the decision to step down after five succesful years in the role to focus more time on her family’s cattle and stock and station agency businesses

A recruitment search has been commenced by ABBA with a new CEO expected to be announcing early in the new year


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  1. Sam Burke, 02/02/2023

    Michael has been a great mentor to me at MLA.

    His knowledge across the entire supply chain is incredible .

    I was incredibly sad to hear of his resignation.

    However I am very happy Michael is still a prominent leader Industry and look forward to seeing Michael continue to succeed in his career.

    You’re a real champion of industry mate.

    Culinary Regards


  2. Anthony (Bim) Struss, 29/11/2022

    A big loss to MLA and incredible gain for Herefords Australia.

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