People on the Move: Appointments, retirements, achievements

Beef Central, 31/03/2023

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

  • Vale John Kerin
  • Changes at McDonald’s supplier, FMG
  • Ken Vowles elected NTLEA chair
  • Genetics specialist Andrew Byrne joins Neogen
  • Vale Joe Rolfe
  • Recruiter Ag Appointments strengthens team
  • New chair for Barkly Regional Beef Research Committee
  • ABRI appointments
  • NZ bursary for young Angus breeder
  • New sustainability head, global president for JBS

Vale John Kerin

Former Federal Labor Primary Industries minister and Treasurer John Kerin has passed away, aged 85.

John Kerin

Mr Kerin was widely regarded as one of the nation’s best ag ministers from the Labor side of politics, driving a series of important changes and reforms through the farming sector.

A trained economist who worked at ABARES for a period,, Mr Kerin was a chicken farmer when he entered federal politics. He served as Primary Industries minister for eight years under the Hawke/Keating governments – becoming the longest serving ag minister in Australian history.

He also held lengthy terms as Minister for Trade, and Transport and Communications – both strongly linked with the bush – before serving briefly as Federal Treasurer.

His legacy to industry is primarily in the fields of trade access and natural resources management.

Mr Kerin played a key role in the Hawke Government’s numerous economic reforms, particularly the gradual abolition of tariff protections impacting agricultural products.

After his retirement from politics in 1993, he headed the Australian Meat & Livestock Corporation for a short period, and later joined numerous company and charity boards. In 2008 he was appointed to the board of the CSIRO and the same year was made a distinguished life member of the Australian Agriculture and Resource Economics Society.

Mr Kerin remained active across a range of public policy issues into his later years.

Changes at FMG

Fulton Marketing Group, the company responsible for global burger giant McDonald’s beef procurement operations out of Australia, has announced a series of changes to its global leadership team.

After 19 years working in the McDonald’s system, FMG recently farewelled Kim D’Anella as Global Supply Chain Director. As part of the transition, Paulina Matczuk, one of  FMG’s first employees, returned to the company late last year to step into the role. Her experience of FMG’s business and her knowledge and relationships across the McDonald’s System have ensured a seamless transition.

Reporting jointly to Peter Wojda and Connor FitzGerald, Paulina spent several months in FMG’s Australian office gaining first-hand experience in the Asia Pacific and Middle East markets before returning to Chicago.

In other developments, Peter Wojda recently started a three-year term as one of FMG’s Supplier Network board members, and Rishi Ketkar has joined the FMG leadership team in the newly created role of Head of Finance, APMEA. Based in FMG’s Sydney office, he brings a wealth of experience gained over 25 years in similar roles within Pizza Hut and other Fortune 500 companies. Reporting directly to Connor FitzGerald, he will lead finance strategy and process for APMEA.

Jonathan Freeman last week left FMG to take on a new role with an e-commerce startup. Mr Freeman joined FMG in 2018 relocating to the company’s US operations in 2019 to lead the technology team. He will continue to work with FMG in a new advisory role, as Chief Digital Innovation Advisor, providing thought leadership on digital innovation and remaining as a crucial link between FMG and McDonald’s.

Mr Freeman’s drive to innovate was recognised in 2022 when BOAB’s Quality Dashboard was acknowledged as “Best in Digital Supply Chain” and showcased during the McDonald’s Worldwide Convention.

Ken Vowles elected NTLEA chair

Ken Vowles has been elected chair of the Northern Territory Livestock Exporters Association, in a move that sees the former NT primary industries minister renew his long-standing advocacy work in support of the northern livestock industry.

Ken Vowles

Mr Vowles, who joined the NTLEA board last year as an independent director, follows David Warriner, who formally stood down from the position he has held since 2016.

“I’m excited by this opportunity to lead the NTLEA and do what I can to support the livestock export industry which continues to be so important to the NT,” he said.

He said his work with the NTLEA to promote cattle and buffalo exports would complement his other roles, including as managing director of Darwin-based Wuk Wuk Consulting which provides a range of services across a number of industries, including supporting indigenous business development.

Mr Vowles has also recently been appointed to the board of the Northern WA and NT Drought Resilience Adoption & Innovation Hub, which includes working alongside NT Farmers, the NT Cattlemen’s Association, NT Government and Charles Darwin University to strengthen the climate resilience of agricultural producers, traditional owners and regional communities.

“We know the importance of strong bipartisan support for the NT’s livestock export industry and I’m committed to helping exporters, producers and everyone involved in the live trade from across the supply chain, to ensure their voice heard here in the Territory and also at Federal level,” Mr Vowles said.

“We are all indebted to David Warriner for his fearless leadership of our industry and his wise counsel, even in recent months when he has been on medical leave,” NTLEA chief executive Tom Dawkins said. “We’re delighted that David’s health is improving and his recovery is progressing steadily.”

Genetics specialist Andrew Byrne joins Neogen

Livestock genetics specialist Andrew Byrne has joined animal genetics company Neogen Australasia, adding to its team of local advisers to support the industry’s implementation of genomic technologies.

Andrew Byrne

Most recently Mr Byrne was the Genetic Evaluation Manager at Angus Australia, overseeing the delivery of the breed society’s genetic evaluation services, including the TransTasman Angus Cattle Evaluation and Angus HeiferSELECT.

Mr Byrne has been recruited by Neogen to the role of senior technical product specialist for genomics. His work will include evaluating new technologies as part of Neogen’s commitment to continue bringing cutting-edge tools from around the world for use by Australian producers. He joins a genomics team that has representatives across Australia and NZ,  providing local and personal support to beef, dairy, sheep, companion animal and plant breeders.

“Genomics has transformed livestock breeding in recent years and I am looking forward to playing a role in the delivery of Neogen’s genomic products to breeders,” he said.

Part of Mr Byrne’s role will be to assist in communicating technical features and benefits of Neogen’s genomic products, and supporting their implementation so that producers can gain maximum benefit from the technology through increased productivity and profitability.

He has also held several industry positions including chair of the BreedPlan Technical Liaison Group, and is currently a member of the BreedPlan Advisory Committee.

Vale Joe Rolfe

Much-respected North Queensland beef extension officer Joe Rolfe past away recently in Mareeba.

Through a 30-year career with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr Rolfe excelled in the extension field and showed great dedication and commitment to the Northern Australian beef industry.

Joe Rolfe

When considering project ideas, he was always the first to ask “What will this do for industry?” His dedication to ensuring relevant and useful outcomes for industry was why the projects he developed and worked on during his years with DAF were so fruitful.

Over his career, Mr Rolfe managed and worked across a number of large projects, including FutureProfit,  $avannaPlan & $avannaPlan Beef$ense, Climate Clever Beef, Climate Savvy Grazing, Adoption and Education in Reef Catchments, Keys to Healthy Savannas, Reefsponsible and viable beef production, Lifting adoption of Leucaena in North QLD, Evaluation of promising pastures legumes and grasses for the beef production systems of northern and central QLD, Demonstration of Walk Over Weighing and Remote Monitoring Technology, Psyllid Resistance Leucaena for the North, GrazingFutures – preparing for, responding to and recovering from drought, and E-Beef: Smart Farming Partnership.

He started his career as a Land Management Extension Officer in 1990 based in Mareeba, transferring to Charters Towers later that year. He worked for 14 years in Charters Towers, across land management projects and the FutureProfit initiative.

In 2002, he returned to the Atherton Tablelands as a beef extension officer. Continuing to develop and use his leadership skills, Mr Rolfe built strong working relationships with the improved pastures staff at Walkamin Research Station, developing a “Northern Beef and Feedbase” team servicing the Northern Gulf, Southern Gulf, Cape York, Wet Coast and Atherton Tablelands.

Since 2011 his commitment and negotiation skill resulted in DAF successfully sourcing external funding to support five major projects for the Northern Beef Industry to the value of $4.6 million across both Reef and Gulf Catchment areas. These projects allowed the team to provide sound research and extension support to beef producers across the Far North, Cape York and North West Gulf in pursuit of improved sustainability and profitability.

Just one of the projects he worked on was the Climate Clever Beef projects in the Gulf region, working with six demonstration properties, covering 150 000ha and running 10,000 head of cattle. Overall, the activities of these projects provided information to producers from over 200 beef businesses representing six million hectares of country and 460 000 head of cattle, plus 200 community, agency, agribusiness and industry stakeholders.

Mr Rolfe’s vision has resulted in an expansion of DAF beef extension resources for producers across the Northern and Southern Gulf region including a successful campaign in 2019 to provide two new positions in Cloncurry and Richmond to support flood recovery efforts.

Despite lifelong health issues, he remained a positive, passionate and enthusiastic DAF team member whose attitude to life and work was infectious. He led by example, with an inclusive approach that saw him enjoy a high level of loyalty from staff he managed, fellow colleagues and producers. He was a modest leader; ensuring recognition for success was shared amongst team members. He never dismissed anyone’s opinion or ideas, but instead encouraged input from everyone, which saw him foster healthy, respectful working relationships with those working alongside him.

Joe Rolfe’s funeral was held in Mareeba last week

Recruiter Agricultural Appointments strengthens team

Lauren McNally

Lauren McNally has joined the team at recruitment specialists, Agricultural Appointments, bringing with her a wealth of experience in the field of recruitment, people and culture, WHS, and training.

Ms McNally graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in Animal Science, and went on to build a successful career in senior management roles for leading agricultural enterprises.

Ms McNally is now serving in an industry capacity, as a board member of the Australian Lot Feeders Association. Her passion for building high-performance teams through meticulous attention to the recruitment process has led to her current role as a consultant.

As well as recruitment solutions, Lauren offers a range of other services, including training, human resources, and workplace health and safety support.

New chair for Barkly Regional Beef Research Committee

Paraway Pastoral Co’s Rocklands station manager, Matt Barrett is the new chair of the North Australian Beef Research Committee’s Barkly Regional Beef Research Committee.

Matt Barrett

Mr Barrett said after managing large-scale beef operations in northern Australia for 20 years, he wanted to become more involved in the R&D efforts in the northern industry. “There’s no point in sitting on the sidelines – if you want to make positive change you have to get involved and make it happen,” he said.

Mr Barrett said he was looking forward to supporting research and development efforts into ongoing issues across Northern Australia such as cost efficiencies, grazing land management, reproductive rates and calf survival.

Illfracombe grazier Rob Pearce has also recently been appointed Chair of the West Queensland RBRC, taking over the reins from Nina House.

“It is vitally important that the research being funded and undertaken in the northern beef industry aligns with what the producers on the ground need for long-term viability of their beef enterprises,” Mr Pearce said.

“Involvement in NABRC’s Regional Beef Research Committees provides producers with the opportunity to have input into the research priorities that are being funded – it’s imperative that this input is provided and that we have a voice. That is why I became involved in the Western Queensland RBRC – to make sure the issues we face out here are on the table.”

NABRC connects producers, researchers and industry stakeholders to drive improved production in Australia’s northern grassfed beef industry. NABRC also supports producers to adopt new technology and best practices by sharing cutting edge research solutions from its partners at MLA, CSIRO, the State Governments and Australia’s universities.

Several of NABRC’s regional beef research committees have also recently appointed new producer members including Central Queensland and West Queensland.

ABRI appointments

Agricultural Business Research Institute managing director Hugh Nivison has announced a number of appointments to the ABRI team, collectively bringing with them world class knowledge and experience to guide the institute through an exciting period of business growth and development.

Mark Christian

Mark Christian has relocated from the United Kingdom to take on the new role as Chief Product and Innovation Officer. He has led large product transformation projects on three continents in various industries and most recently led several AR/VR tech ventures in the UK.

Praneet Castelino has joined ABRI as the IT Systems Manager. He has previously spent time in software engineering, cloud architecture and product design across a variety of sectors including Government departments, local tech, and multinational companies including Fuji-Xerox and Emirates.

NZ bursary for young Angus breeder

Alex Ferguson has been selected as Angus Australia’s 2023 recipient of the society’s Trans Tasman Travel Bursary, giving her the opportunity to immerse herself and gain insight into global beef production.

Alex Ferguson

Alex was born and raised in Murmungee, Northeast Victoria on her family’s beef cattle farm where she has had a significant involvement in all goings-on of the business. After completing school, she moved to Wagga Wagga to complete a Bachelor of Ag Science at Charles Sturt University. Currently she is working as an Overseer at Landfall Angus in Northern Tasmania, where her key role is management of the livestock, pastures and fencing infrastructure.

The Trans Tasman Travel Bursary is offered annually and provides an Angus Australia member the opportunity to travel around NZ investigating the beef industry and meeting seedstock and commercial producers around the country. The bursary will see Alex spend up to four weeks touring the country and networking with producers in the industry.

New sustainability head, global president for JBS

JBS has appointed Jason Weller as the company’s Global Director of Sustainability. Prior to joining JBS, Mr Weller served as president of US sustainability program manager Truterra. He also served as the head of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and sat on the US House Appropriations sub-committee on Agriculture, the US House budget committee, and in the Office of White House Management and Budget.

Global CEO Gilberto Tomazoni recently told shareholders that after many years, André Nogueira was no longer with the company, with the transition of his role as global president of operations to Wesley Batista Filho now complete.

Mr Nogueira, who at one point earlier in his career was CEO of Australian operations, remains in an advisory capacity with JBS, in the company’s US Advisory Board and Pilgrim’s Pride Board.


Click here to access Beef Central’s popular recruitment platform, Jobs Central. This week’s current diverse listings cover property management, head stockmen, feedlot management, chief executive officer positions, accountants, R&D specialists, geneticists, livestock buyers, logistics, commodity traders, feedmill managers, overseers, farm hands and bore runners. Put your vacant positions in front of a vast national beef industry audience.







Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will not appear until it has been moderated.
Contributions that contravene our Comments Policy will not be published.


Get Beef Central's news headlines emailed to you -