People on the Move: Appointments, retirements, achievements

Jon Condon, 23/03/2016
  • Rangers Valley begins search for new CEO
  • New CEO for Hassad Australia
  • Brad Banducci appointed as Woolworths head
  • CEO appointment for NFF
  • Grassfed beef industry leaders to sharpen governance skills
  • New chair for Angus Australia Tassie state committee
  • Former CU head takes on QFF role
  • Honours for young professionals in ag
  • RIRDC appoints new managing director
  • New CEO for CWA


Beef Central publishes an occasional summary of appointments, retirements  or achievements occurring across the red meat supply chain, both private sector and government. Details for submissions are provided at the bottom of this item.


Rangers Valley begins search for new CEO

A search is underway to find a new chief executive for the Rangers Valley feedlot and integrated beef supply chain business near Glen Innes.

Don Mackay

Don Mackay

Don Mackay will step down from the position on September 30, providing a six-month window for transition into new general management. The position was advertised on Beef Central’s popular ‘Jobs Central’ recruitment page on Friday – click here to view full listing.

Mr Mackay will have filled the CEO’s role at Rangers Valley for eight years by the time he finishes up. He is only the second person to act as CEO for Rangers Valley in the company’s 27 year history. His predecessor, Malcolm Foster operating for the first 18 years after the feedlot was established by Japan’s Marubeni in 1992. Mr Mackay plans to stay engaged with the beef industry after his departure, in non-executive work out of his Brisbane base. He currently sits as a director of three companies with connections with the meat and livestock industry.

New CEO for Hassad Australia

Agribusiness identity John McKillop recently took up an appointment as chief executive officer at Hassad Australia, with responsibility for the oversight and general management of the business.

john-mckillop-131112-copyMr McKillop has 25 years’ experience in the agricultural sector in various roles including managing director of Clyde Agriculture and senior roles with AgCAP, Elders, Stanbroke Pastoral Co and Grainco.

He recently completed a three-year term as a director on the board of MLA. He is currently a director of Dairy Australia and the Primary Industries Education Foundation, and spent a period as director of CS Agriculture, which owns and operates the Cubbie Station aggregation, one of Australia’s largest cotton producers.

Hassad Australia was established in November 2009 as Hassad Food Co’s first overseas investment. Hassad Food Co is a subsidiary of Qatar Investment Authority, the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Qatar with a mandate to run a profitable business with sustainable growth as well as to contribute to the food security program for the Gulf state.

Hassad operates 14 agricultural aggregations stretching from southern Queensland to Victoria and WA, totalling 300,000ha of pastoral and cropping enterprises.

Brad Banducci appointed as Woolworths CEO

Experienced retailer Brad Banducci has taken over the reins as Woolworths’ new chief executive officer and managing director. The announcement, effective immediately, was made during Woolworths’ half year results briefing recently.

Brad Banducci WoolworthsMr Banducci is currently managing director of Woolworths Food Group and will continue to act in that role pending a new appointment. He has 25 years’ experience in retail, including 15 years consulting to some of the world’s leading retailers, in addition to private equity experience in retail.  He has had five years with Woolworths

Mr Banducci said he was an entrepreneur at heart, and a retailer by discipline, and wanted to take the company back to its best levels of performance. “My goal as CEO will be to recapture the spirit of innovation and customer focus right across the business, and to grow a culture where our people once again feel a strong ownership of the business.”

He has a Master of Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Management and received Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Commerce degrees from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in his native South Africa.

CEO appointment for NFF

Tony Mahar last week took up his new position as chief executive officer at the National Farmers Federation.

Tony_Mahar08Mr Mahar has been a key member of the NFF’s leadership team since mid-2012 as deputy CEO and takes over from Simon Talbot who spearheaded a number of transformational initiatives within the organisation over the past 18 months.

NFF President Brent Finlay said Mr Mahar had an outstanding track record across economics, trade and broader agricultural policy. “Tony has been one of the key drivers in setting a new clear and progressive strategic direction for the organisation and how it will best represent the Australian agriculture industry,” Mr Finlay said.

“He has some of the nation’s best skills across agriculture and economics and, due to his knowledge and experience, is undoubtedly the best person to lead the NFF and drive the implementation of the organisation’s future strategy in what is an exciting growth stage for both our organisation and the broader industry.”

Mr Finlay paid tribute to outgoing CEO Simon Talbot, who has taken up an appointment in the corporate sector.

New chair for Angus Australia Tasmania state committee

Launceston bull breeder Jock Hughes from Cluden Newry Angus has been elected as the new chairman of Angus Australia’s Tasmanian state committee. He replaces Darryl Hazelwood.

Cluden Newry Angus was established in 1956 by his father Richard, and currently runs about 300 registered Angus females as part of a mixed farming/grazing enterprise. Cluden Newry has held an annual on-property bull sale since 1974.

Former CU head takes on QFF role

Ruth WadeFormer head of the Cattlemens Union of Australia, Ruth Wade, has been appointed interim chief executive of the Queensland Farmers Federation. Ms Wade took up her new position late last year, having retired earlier as executive director of Ricegrowers Association of Australia. Ms Wade has a combined 25 years of experience in Agricultural and business management within Queensland and internationally.

Ms Wade has a long association to the agricultural industries, including former roles as executive director of The Cattlemen’s Union of Australia, director of Meat & Livestock Australia and as a director of the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority.

Grassfed beef industry leaders to sharpen governance skills

Fifteen grassfed beef producers from around the country will sharpen their leadership skills thanks to a corporate government course sponsored by Cattle Council of Australia in conjunction with MLA. The five-day course, administered by the Australian Institute of Company Directors, is designed to focus on areas of business management and skills specific to cattle producers. Here’s who’s involved:

  • NSW: Geoff Birchall, Tamworth; Derek Schoen, Corowa; Hamish Munro, Molong; Craig Croker, Golspie.
  • Western Australia: David Stoate, Broome; Alexandra Rigall, Narrikup; Hugh Barnet, Heytesbury Pastoral Co.
  • Queensland: Alice Greenup, Kumbia; Andrew Gray, Texas; James Walker, Longreach; Terry Cleary, Gayndah.
  • Victoria: Mike Gadd, Walwa.
  • Tasmania: Brett Hall, Dynnyrne.
  • South Australia: Gillian Fennell, Marla.
  • Northern Territory: Murray Hockey, Alice Springs.

CCA chief executive Jed Matz said the long-term productivity and profitability of the grass fed beef industry was reliant on strong leadership, and the course would foster good governance, opportunity and industry representation within the cattle industry. The AIDC directors course covers risk management, financial performance and business skills.

Honours for young WA professionals in ag

Western Australian university graduate Maddison Corlett has received the state’s 2016 Young Professionals in Agriculture Forum top honour. The annual forum recognises the work of students who have completed an undergraduate degree at a WA university. Finalists are required to submit a research paper and deliver a presentation.


Young Professionals in Agriculture Forum finalist Laura Grubb with overall winner Maddison Corlett.

Maddison, a Murdoch University Animal Science graduate, presented her paper on the inclusion of biserrula chaff in the diet of sheep to reduce methane production.

Her work involving Merino wethers found including biserrula chaff in the diet of sheep did not reduce methane yield and suggested future research should be directed to greater utilisation of the feeding value of pastures while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Maddison was awarded a CRC scholarship to complete her PhD project at Murdoch University, to investigate consumer perceptions about the colour of lamb and yearling beef.

The other finalist, Murdoch University Animal Science graduate Laura Grubb, was awarded best presentation for her examination of the impact of mycotoxin consumption on the incidence of dark cutting. Her study used data obtained from 3185 head of cattle from Tasmania, accumulated between March and June 2015.

As discussed in this earlier Beef Central article, results from that survey suggest that decreasing the consumption of ochratoxin A would minimise dark-cutting beef but suggested further studies were required with a more extensive sampling period.

Ms Grubb has advocated for a greater youth voice in agriculture as the 2015 Angus Youth Beef Australia Scholar and was involved in the 2015 Youth Ag Summit in Canberra.

The Young Professionals event is hosted by the Ag Institute Australia (WA Division) and supported by the Department of Agriculture and Food. The young professionals forum was followed by a PhD candidate showcase of work, including Joe Steer (University of WA), Tim Haskett (Murdoch University) and Alison Renwick (Curtin University).

New CEO for CWA

Danica Leys headshotThe Country Women’s Association of NSW has appointed Danica Leys as its new chief executive. Danica brings fresh enthusiasm to the NSW arm of Australia’s largest women’s organisation, as well as a raft of experience in not-for-profit, government and rural organisations.

Danica has most recently been with NSW Farmers, in both policy and industrial relations areas, and in 2012 she was awarded the NSW Rural Women’s Award for her efforts in the rural sector. She has held board positions with Australian Women in Agriculture Limited, AgChatOZ Incorporated and The University of Sydney Agriculture Alumni.

Ms Leys advocacy experience will be a powerful asset to the CWA of NSW, as will her youth.

New leader for NCBA

The US National Cattlemen’s Beef Association – the approximate equivalent of Australia’s Cattle Council of Australia – has appointed Kendal Frazier its new chief executive officer. Mr Frazier has served as interim CEO since June 2015. He was raised on a cattle and grain operation in Kansas, and graduated from Kansas State University before beginning his career as a farm broadcaster for WIBW Radio/Television before joining Kansas Livestock Association as director of communications. He joined the staff of the National Cattlemen’s Association in 1985 and has held a number of staff leadership roles during his career with the association.

NCBA president Tracy Brunner said he is confident that the nation’s oldest and largest cattle industry association was in good hands.


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