People on the Move: Appointments, retirements, achievements

Jon Condon, 18/12/2020

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

  • Changes afoot in ACC senior management ranks
  • NT Cattlemen’s Association appoints acting CEO
  • Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports reappointed
  • AHA announces board appointments
  • Departmental Superstar of STEM helping advance animal health
  • Appointment of new Austrade CEO
  • Japan’s highest civilian order awarded to USMEF’s Phil Seng

Australian Country Choice’s David Foote, left, and Anthony Lee

Changes afoot in ACC senior management ranks

CHANGES in direction for Queensland beef processor Australian Country Choice’s business model outlined in a separate story on Beef Central today, have also heralded some significant changes in senior management ranks.

Current chief executive officer and group managing director David Foote, who has been with the company since 1999, plans to step down next year, handing the CEO reins over to Anthony Lee, son of ACC founder and owner, Trevor Lee.

Mr Foote will continue in a part-time advisory role as the company’s Director of Industry and Corporate affairs, to support the Lee family and the ACC group of companies and their respective boards.  Mr Foote started with the business in 22 years ago as general manager for properties and livestock, followed by seven years as CEO, and the past eight years as Managing Director.

Anthony Lee moves into the CEO role after 21 years working in the company. After completing a business degree at University of Queensland, he has spent the past 16 years full time in the ACC business, and has progressed from supervisory roles in manufacturing production to management of retail-ready operations through to executive business management roles across the Cannon Hill operations.

Over the course of the past year, as part of the management succession program, his role as executive director of operations has incorporated the properties and feedlot divisions in the ACC agribusiness.

NT Cattlemen’s Association appoints acting CEO

The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association has announced the departure of chief executive officer Ashley Manicaros, but in a short media release has not given a reason for his sudden exit from the organisation.

Ashley Manicaros

A statement released on Wednesday simply said Mr Manicaros was leaving the organisation and announced that executive officer Romy Carey has been appointed Acting CEO.

In the statement NTCA president Chris Nott thanked Mr Manicaros for his time with the organisation before going on to say that members and the executive team were looking forward to working with Mrs Carey.

Mr Manicaros, a former NT News journalist, was appointed to the role of NTCA CEO in September 2018. In an article published by the NT News following Wednesday’s announcement Mr Manicaros confirmed he was leaving and said he regarded the “discussions as private and confidential at this time.”

He was quoted as saying he was reflecting on his options and opportunities, and was proud of his strong track record of success at the NTCA over the past 27 months.

Mrs Carey, described in the NTCA statement as a Darwin-born mother-of-three, has worked for the NTCA as Executive Officer for nearly two years. The statement said she brought a wealth of industry experience to the role, including placing as a finalist in the 2020 NT Young Achiever’s Agriculture Awards and working in the NT cattle industry prior to joining the NTCA.

In a statement, president Chris Nott said the NTCA had a major win in the 2020 Live Export Ban court decision, and the industry would continue to be a leader in driving positive change while also defending the position and integrity of the cattle sector into 2021.

“Life on the land here in the NT isn’t made any easier when we don’t get enough rain in the southern parts, stumble over red tape, have to cart cattle on hundreds of kilometres of a detour due to poor road conditions, or worry about our children and grandchildren at boarding school when sudden border closures hit,” he said.

“But we will continue to fight the good fight and tackle those challenges in 2021 with a new CEO at the helm of our organisation.”

Mr Nott said Mrs Carey has the support and trust of the NTCA Board and welcomed her into the new role.

Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports reappointed

The Australian Government has welcomed the reappointment of Ross Carter as Inspector-General of Live Animal Exports for a second four-year term.

Agriculture minister David Littleproud said Mr Carter has considerable experience in regulatory practice and appropriate qualifications in science and environmental management, which are well suited to the IGLAE position.

“I congratulate Ross on his reappointment to this key role. He brings independence and impartiality, combined with his extensive regulatory background and a strong ability to undertake stakeholder engagement,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Since commencing as the IGLAE, Mr Carter has consulted with the minister and a wide range of stakeholders and developed a comprehensive three-year work program. He has completed one review looking at Monitoring and reporting during livestock export voyages and has a further three reviews currently underway. He has been clear in defining and communicating the independence of the IGLAE role and has worked constructively with the Department to develop and commence delivery of his work program.”

Mr Littleproud said the reappointment gave a clear signal to industry and the community of the importance the Government places on the position and the value that Mr Carter has brought to oversight of live animal export regulation.

The primary role of the IGLAE is to undertake independent audit and review functions of the live animal exports trade and provide assurance, including greater transparency on the systems and processes that underpin the department’s regulation of livestock exports. The independent role provides confidence for farmers, industry and the community in the regulation of livestock exports.

AHA announces board appointments

Animal Health Australia has announced that Malcolm Letts has been appointed to the company’s board, bringing with him considerable experience as a senior government executive in the agriculture and primary industries sectors.

Malcolm Letts

Mr Letts joins the board alongside returning directors Michelle Gorman and Dr Len Stephens, who were each reappointed following an initial four-year term at AHA’s recent 2020 Annual General Meeting.

Chair of AHA’s board, Sharon Starick, said Mr Letts had a wide range of professional experiences which would be valuable to the board.

“Alongside his extensive knowledge of the government sector and the biosecurity system, Malcolm is a strategic thinker and innovator who explores people-centric solutions to issues faced by the sector,” she said.

Mr Letts currently serves as deputy director general and chief biosecurity officer with Biosecurity Queensland, and has held a variety of leadership roles within Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

“With the launch of AHA’s new Strategic Plan 2020-25 earlier in the year Malcolm joins us at an opportune time. Through the new strategic plan and the growing Biosecurity 2030 Project, we’re looking to transform the biosecurity system by connecting sectors, to better protect our economy, environment and way of life,” Ms Starick said.

“With his knowledge of farming systems and strong connections within government and industry, I believe Malcolm will be a big part of that.”

Mr Letts will serve a four-year term, replacing outgoing director Dr Bruce Christie, former deputy-director biosecurity and food safety with the NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Returning AHA directors are Michelle Gorman and Dr Len Stephens.

Ms Gorman returns to the AHA board for a second term, having been first appointed in 2016. She has an extensive background in executive leadership across both agriculture and finance, with particular strengths in finance, policy, governance, strategic planning and digital transformation.

Dr Stephens has been reappointed to the AHA Board, having served a full four-year term. He has held a wide range of influential positions across the aquaculture and livestock sectors, covering meat, fibre and dairy production.

Departmental Superstar of STEM helping advance animal health

Department of Agriculture veterinarian and epidemiologist, Dr Rachel Iglesias was recently named one of Australia’s official Superstars of STEM.

Australia’s chief veterinary officer Dr Mark Schipp congratulated Rachel as one of 60 brilliant women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics stepping into the spotlight for this acclaimed national program.

“Rachel’s work as a veterinary officer in the Animal Health Epidemiology and One Health team is important in the effective national surveillance and control of animal diseases in Australia,” Dr Schipp said.

“She is an everyday superstar working on surveillance for important animal diseases to detect outbreaks and supporting export markets for animals and animal products. This includes preparing for outbreaks of emergency animal diseases and monitoring for animal disease incidents in other parts of the world that might pose a risk to Australia.”

Dr Iglesias is currently on secondment to the Department of Health, gaining new knowledge and experiences and sharing her expertise as part of the COVID-19 response. She will return to the Department of Agriculture in 2021

Dr Rachel Iglesias said she applied for the STEM Superstar program to learn the skills needed to communicate more directly with livestock producers and the general public about the department’s science work. “I’m excited about finding ways to invite our stakeholders to communicate with us about their priorities and interests,” she said.

Science & Technology Australia chief executive officer Misha Schubert said the program gave women in STEM stronger skills and confidence to step into expert commentary roles in the media.

“It’s hard to be what you can’t see,” Ms Schubert said. “Women are still seriously under-represented in STEM leadership roles. The Superstars of STEM program sets out to smash stereotypes of what a scientist, technologist, engineer or mathematician look like — these powerful role models show girls that STEM is for them.”

Appointment of new Austrade CEO

The Morrison Government has announced the appointment of Xavier Simonet as the new chief executive officer of Austrade, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission.

Mr Simonet is currently Group CEO and Managing Director of Kathmandu Holdings, which comprises the Kathmandu, Rip Curl and Oboz brands, and has previously held the roles of CEO of Radley London and International Director of Seafolly Group. He also worked for 11 years for LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Minister for Trade Simon Birmingham said Mr Simonet’s appointment came at a time when Austrade had a critical role to play in helping Australian businesses to maintain global supply chains, export to more markets, help our tourism and education sectors to recover while also attracting game-changing investment.

“As our key agency for promoting Australian trade, investment and education to the world, and developing tourism policy, Austrade’s role in providing advice and support to Australian businesses has never been more important, as they continue to face enormous challenges,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Mr Simonet will bring proven and strong leadership to Austrade, as it plays its part in helping Australian businesses to navigate through and bounce back from this significant period of economic and trade uncertainty.

Born and raised in France, Mr Simonet and his family have chosen to make Australia their home, where he has worked for iconic Aussie brands like Seafolly and Rip Curl. He brings a passion for Australia found in many a convert alongside an international perspective that will help to identify the right opportunities and messages to boost Australian sales around the world.

Japan’s highest civilian order awarded to USMEF’s Phil Seng

The Japanese Government has made veteran US meat export industry administrator Phil Seng a recipient of a high honour in the country’s 2020 Autumn Imperial Decorations.

Mr Seng is to receive the Order of the Rising Sun, which is awarded to those who have made distinguished achievements in areas such as international relations and promotion of Japanese culture.

Former USMEF president Phil Seng

Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended Mr Seng, former president & CEO of the US Meat Export Federation (USMEF), for his contributions to strengthening Japan-US economic relations, particularly in the meat field, and promoting mutual understanding between Japan and the US.

Mr Seng is a fluent Japanese speaker, and spent a decade based in US MEF’s Tokyo office.

“I am honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious award from the Japanese government,” Mr Seng said. “However, the recognition should primarily go to the many Japanese colleagues who mentored me along the way, and to the numerous Japanese individuals and companies who introduced and championed US meat products in Japan.”

While the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon is the third highest order bestowed by the Japanese government, it is considered the highest ordinarily conferred order for civilians. The highest Japanese order, the Order of the Chrysanthemum, is reserved for heads of state or royalty, while the second highest, the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, is mostly reserved for politicians.

USMEF president and CEO Dan Halstrom said Mr Seng deserved credit for advancing US red meat interests around the world, and his impact was especially evident in Japan, where he worked tirelessly to strengthen relations between the US and Japan.

Mr Seng joined USMEF as its Asian director in 1982, serving in that capacity until 1988, when he became USMEF’s vice president of international programs. He served as president and chief executive officer from 1990 to 2018, through the critically important Japanese beef market liberalisation period.

In representing the interests of the US export beef industry, Mr Seng was a vigorous competitor for Australia’s export beef industry, but he remained magnanimous in his praise for Australian beef’s heightened export focus and industry systems, in interviews over the years with Beef Central.

“My strategy was to approach the market respectfully, with the perspectives of the Japanese trade and consumers paramount,” he said during his acceptance. “In this way, we were able to jointly satisfy customer demands and develop everlasting trade relationships that benefitted both the US and Japan.”

Mr Seng is the only American to serve as president of the International Meat Secretariat, where he served four terms, and he also served on the US President’s Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee.

He is currently an affiliate professor in the Animal Science Department at Colorado State University.






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