People on the Move: Appointments, retirements, achievements

Jon Condon, 19/06/2023

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

  • Woolworths meat chain manager calls time after 40 years
  • Mick Keogh re-appointed as deputy chair of the ACCC
  • Executive chef fires up the burners at TFI
  • New livestock procurement manager for Stanbroke
  • New meat and livestock consultancy targets projects in processing, lotfeeding
  • AAM appoints sustainability manager
  • Terry McCosker delivers last Grazing for Profit course
  • MLA appoints General Manager for R&D
  • Carbon firm RegenCo appoints new chief commercial officer
  • New chief executive for CSIRO
  • New role for Livestock Transporters’ Mat Munro
  • ABRI chief operating officer moves into retirement
  • AuctionsPlus begins search for CEO
  • VFF announces Brendan Tatham as CEO
  • Farmers for Climate Action adds to board, seeks new CEO

Woolworths meat chain manager calls time after 40 years

Life-long Woolworths meat team member Brett Thompson will finish up with the national supermarket retailer in September, after a distinguished 40-year career.

Mr Thompson began his career swinging a knife in a butchery apprenticeship in Brisbane, before forging his significant career with Woolworths over the past four decades. At different times he worked alongside Woolworths meat division heavyweights Phil Morley and the late Pat Dempsey, both of whom left a distinct impression on his approach to the meat business, and the people within it.

Brett Thompson

Mr Thompson retires as general manager of strategic sourcing in Greenstock’s leadership team – Woolworths Group’s red meat supply chain business established in 2021

He is a familiar face in Australia’s red meat industry, on feedlots, livestock properties and processing sites across the country.

Mr Thompson cut his teeth in the Toowoomba Woolworths outlet in 1983 where he was appointed store meat manager, responsible for producing case-ready meat from primals, butcher counter operations and delivering meat to customers.

He went on to take up meat management roles at numerous new stores as Woolworths rapidly expanded its footprint across regional Australia. He then moved to Brisbane to manage Woolworths’ Brismeat boning room and pre-packaging facility adjacent to Churchill abattoir near Ipswich, and went on to play a central role as the business moved from Brismeat processing to its partnership with Hilton.

He continued to work his way up into more senior roles, taking up the role of National Livestock Manager around 2000 when Woolworths centralised its in-store butchery to ensure consistency of meat across stores through a National Sourcing Team. As his career progressed, Brett worked closely on Woolworths’ sourcing and processing models as they evolved for beef, pork, and lamb.

In more recent years he has been key to the full end-to-end integration of the Woolworths red meat supply chain under Greenstock.

When asked about key turning points he remembers most fondly, he said the move to Meat Standards Australia grading was a standout domestic industry milestone which transformed Woolworths’ supply chain to deliver guaranteed tender eating-quality for beef.

Although he had a serious health scare at the start of this year, he made a full recovery and his decision to retire later this year is not health related. As he described it to Beef Central, his intention is to now ‘have a gap year’ and enjoy some travel, but did not rule out some casual work or consultancy options after that.

Greenstock managing director Anna Speer said she could say with authority that Mr Thompson is one of the most respected leaders in the beef industry.

“Brett is one of the key people whose deep care, integrity and respect shines through his dedication to our team, customers, farmers and animal welfare. He will be sorely missed,” she said.

Greenstock will begin an internal and external search for a replacement, with Sam Ditchfield continuing to act as general manager of sourcing in the interim.

  • Stand by for a Weekly Grill podcast in coming months with host Kerry Lonergan, where Brett Thompson reflects on the dramatic changes he’s seen in supermarket meat retailing and procurement since the 1980s.


Mick Keogh re-appointed as ACCC’s deputy chair

There’s been enthusiastic response across agriculture to the recent re-appointment of Mick Keogh as deputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Mick Keogh

Mr Keogh has played a key role as a strong advocate for Australian farmers and small businesses, ensuring they are fairly treated under Australian competition law.

The work of the ACCC and its Agriculture Unit is vitally important in ensuring fair commercial dealings for farmers in line with competitive markets, the National Farmers Federation said.

“They play a critical role in monitoring and enforcing appropriate competition in Australia’s agricultural markets,” NFF said.

Mr Keogh has a deep understanding of Australian agriculture with roles across government, industry and the private sector, including 15 years as the executive director of the Australian Farm Institute, an independent policy research institute that conducted research into strategic policy issues of importance to Australian agriculture and regional Australia.


New livestock procurement manager for Stanbroke

Livestock industry identity David Daunton has taken up a new position as livestock procurement manager with Stanbroke Beef in Queensland.

He replaces Duane Woodham, who as reported in our previous People on the Move column, has moved on to a similar role as national livestock manager with large grainfed processor Kilcoy Global Foods.

David Daunton

Mr Daunton has had a long career in cattle supply chain procurement roles, but took up a new challenge for a few years in 2018 as logistics and livestock manager for poultry giant, Inghams.

Prior to that, he had 18 years as livestock manager with vertically integrated beef producer Australian Country Choice, and 11 years as a livestock marketing specialist with Wesfarmers Dalgety (now Nutrien). Mr Daunton started in his new role last month.

Stanbroke is a family-owned, vertically integrated beef and cattle business, which is unusual in that it owns and operates all stages in production from breeding and growing to lotfeeding, processing at the company’s Grantham export plant, and retail (in the domestic market, at least).

The company produces Wagyu, Angus, grainfed, certified grassfed and certified organic beef on eight cattle stations in northern Queensland covering 1.6 million ha. It also manages 46 properties in southern Queensland which are used to background cattle and prepare them for entry into the feedlot.


New meat and livestock consultancy targets projects in processing, lotfeeding

Three stakeholders with diverse, yet highly specialised meat and livestock industry skills have joined forces to launch a new consultancy business this month.

The men behind the new PPS Advisory Services business are beef processing industry identity Pat Gleeson, process engineer and strategist Phil Hutchison and commercial construction and engineering specialist Simon Spittle.

One of the key areas of focus for the new group will be sustainability-related projects at processing and feedlot sector level.

All three gentlemen have decades of experience in their respective fields.

Simon Spittle has more than 30 years’ experience as an executive, leading commercial construction and engineering companies, and has strong knowledge of corporate governance risk management and presenting to, and liaising with boards. He was previously the chief operating officer at prominent food industry engineering and project management firm Wiley, and has held executive roles at several other commercial construction companies. Mr Spittle has led operational and business units, design, construction and engineering teams, and has an extensive background in the design, construction, engineering and project management fields.

Prior to moving into consultancy, engineer Phil Hutchison held senior executive roles with Teys Australia, JBS Australia, Australia Post/StarTrack, Campbell Arnott’s and Australia Meat Holdings.

As a strategic planner able to conceptualise solutions to complex problems, Mr Hutchison has an ability to seamlessly integrate applicable technology and structure to business processes. His experience is utilised to support clients in developing and implementing significant change programs across multiple business units.

Pat Gleeson is a widely respected veteran red meat processing operations executive, having spent 12 years as Oakey Beef Exports general manager of operations, and 25 years with NH Foods in total. Ssince resigning from NH Foods in 2019 has worked with processing clients to identify, scale and advance innovative strategies through applied methodologies. This includes aligning market variables to manufacturing production processes, supply chain management, new engineering projects with a focus on reducing carbon emissions in manufacturing, quality assurance, labour strategies and culture.

In the past he has served on a number of national industry boards and advisory panels including the National Animal Welfare Steering Committee; the 457 Labour Agreement Committee on behalf of the Red Meat Industry; the Queensland Beef Industry Roundtable; the Australian Meat Processing Innovation Committee and Food Leaders Australia. Prior to becoming a consulting specialist, he was Processing Director with NH Foods Australia and an industry-elected director of the Red Meat Advisory Council, the Australian Meat Industry Council and Australian Meat Processing Corporation.

PPS Advisory Services will operate out of Brisbane, but is engaged in projects Australia-wide.


AAM appoints sustainability manager

Large-scale agricultural investment firm AAM has appointed Kari Moffat as the company’s new sustainability manager.

Kari Moffatt

Based in Darwin, Ms Moffat has moved from livestock exporter Austrex, where she worked across their animal welfare and sustainability platforms for three years. Prior to joining Austrex in 2019, Ms Moffat worked for livestock exporter Wellard for four years both as an on-board stockperson and compliance and animal welfare manager. She has also been involved in agricultural representation – as a co-founder of the Young Live Exporters Network and a current member of the Australian Beef Sustainability Steering Group.

In her new role at AAM, she will be driving the company’s sustainability strategy. Managing director Garry Edwards said Ms Moffat was a welcome addition to the team.

“Kari is a tremendous addition to our team and her skills and experience will enhance the delivery of multiple sustainability initiatives across the broader AAM business,” Mr Edwards said.

“She has great practical skills and experience, working both domestically and internationally, with a proven capacity in delivering positive cultural change that has resulted in world leading animal welfare and sustainability outcomes.”


Terry McCosker delivers last Grazing for Profit course

Dr Terry McCosker has delivered his last Grazing for Profit course, more than 37-years after he founded the well-known organisation Resource Consulting Services.

Terry McCosker

Beef Central understands Dr McCosker will stay on as the managing director of RCS and the managing director of the business’ soil carbon subsidiary Carbon link.

As an internationally acclaimed teacher, he has worked in research, extension and property management in both government and private sectors for 50 years. According to RCS, Terry published over 40 papers in his research era and made several world-first discoveries in the 1980s.

With a focus on regenerative agriculture, GFP was launched in 1990 and has become has gone on to become the longest-running business management program in rural Australia. Over the years it has been updated and adapted with developments in regenerative agriculture knowledge and technology.

Few programs have been as influential on Australian grazing as GFP, with thousands using it as the catalyst for a change in practices.

The RCS grazing practices have been applied to a new company called Carbon Link, where a series of projects are currently passing through the regulatory process of being issued soil carbon credits. They have been showing some promising results in recent years.


Executive chef fires up the burners at TFI

As part of the ongoing recruitment process in advance of the opening of Thomas Foods International’s Murray Bridge processing facility in South Australia, TFI has appointed head chef Alex Thompson.

The 27-year-old Mannum resident is currently adding the finishing touches to the menu he has planned for what will be a large, hungry and diverse workforce.

“Over recent weeks I’ve been preparing a menu that reflects the diverse workforce we’ll have here,” Alex said.

“I’m planning to cook everything from delicious curries, laksas and stirfrys to modern Australian cuisine.

“I’m used to cooking for a lot of people and to me it’s all about providing fresh, healthy and interesting food that people enjoy eating.

“This kitchen is really well decked out and the best workspace I’ve ever walked into. “The whole facility is amazing and I’m really excited to get cooking.”

Prior to joining TFI, Alex completed a commercial cooking apprenticeship while working at the Mannum Community Club and more recently was head chef for the Pretoria Hotel.

He joins other talented professional chefs working in product development and advocacy within the Australian beef industry, including Andy Hearnden, executive chef at Kilcoy Global Foods, who has become a social media cookery sensation; David Carew, business development manager at Casino Food Coop in northern NSW; and MLA’s larger-than-life corporate chef Sam Bourke.      


MLA appoints General Manager for R&D

Meat & Livestock Australia has appointed Kevin Argyle as its new general manager of Research & Development.

Kevin Argyle

Mr Argyle joins MLA from Dairy Australia, where he worked as the director of major innovation and co-director of DairyBio and DairyFeedbase. He replaces Mick Crowley, who earlier left MLA to take up a new role as chief executive of Hereford Australia.

Mr Argyle will bring extensive expertise and strategic vision to drive innovation for MLA’s extensive investments and partnerships on behalf of the red meat and livestock industry.

In his new role he will oversee MLA’s investment in both on-farm and off-farm R&D projects and will manage stakeholder relationships in this space, including with Federal and State governments, producer groups, research bodies and universities.

Throughout his career, he has led and collaborated on numerous research projects that have made significant advancements in the field of agriculture.

His commitment to fostering innovation and driving sustainable practices aligns with MLA’s aim to ensure the long-term prosperity of Australia’s meat and livestock industry.

“The red meat and livestock industry is critical to Australia’s economy, and I am excited to contribute to its growth and sustainability,” Mr Argyle said. “I look forward to collaborating with industry, researchers, and stakeholders to drive innovation, address challenges, and ensure the prosperity- and sustainability of the sector.

Managing director Jason Strong welcomed Mr Argyle to MLA and noted his experience will be instrumental to MLA’s future R&D endeavours.

“His extensive experience and deep knowledge through his time with major research organisations in both Australia and New Zealand will be invaluable in driving our research and development agenda,” Mr Strong said.

Mr Argyle takes up his new position on 10 July.

In other MLA staff movements, general manager of communications Lucy Broad is moving on to a new challenge, joining Robbie Sefton’s Sefton PR rural and regional public relations and communications business.

Ms Broad is a former ABC rural staffer, MD at Cox Inall Communications and general manager of grower extension and communications fort the Grains Research and Development Corp. A replacement is being sought through an internal and external process.

In other roles, MLA is currently advertising for a Carbon Neutral 2030 (CN30) project coordinator.  The role will support the Australian red meat and livestock industry’s ambition of being carbon neutral by 2030. The coordinator will play a vital role in the team to support the establishment, management, execution and reporting of R,D&E activities relating to MLA’s Carbon Neutral 2030 initiatives as well as on-farm sustainability programs.


Carbon firm RegenCo appoints new chief commercial officer

Experienced agribusiness finance service provider Tim Prior has taken up a new appointment as chief commercial officer with carbon farming business, RegenCo.

Tim Prior RegenCo

Mr Prior, who spent the past six years as chief operating officer with specialist livestock finance supplier, StockCo, took up his new position last month.

RegenCo is one of Australia’s larger natural capital businesses, specialising in agricultural productivity, land management and carbon projects. The company works with Australian landholders to develop natural capital regeneration and carbon farming projects that diversify income, and secure long-term food supply while also increasing environmental resilience.

Mr Prior will lead the execution of collaborative projects, bridging scientific knowledge and landholders’ perspectives.


New chief executive for CSIRO

Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has appointed Professor Doug Hilton as chief executive, effective 29 September.

Prof Hilton is a molecular and cellular biologist, director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, the Lorenzo and Pamela Galli chair in Medical Biology and head of the Department of Medical Biology in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

Prof Doug Hilton

For the past 14 years, under his direction, WEHI has grown to become a multi-disciplinary organisation that makes fundamental discoveries and works with partners to translate these into improved outcomes in cancer, infectious and immune diseases, developmental disorders and diseases of ageing.

On announcing the appointment of Prof Hilton, chair of the CSIRO Board, Kathryn Fagg said Prof Hilton was is a much-respected researcher, leader and communicator of the better outcomes science can deliver.

Commenting on his appointment, Professor Hilton said CSIRO was a unique national treasure, there to deliver science for the benefit of the community.

“The intent of CSIRO and my personal values are completely aligned, and I am looking forward to leading CSIRO as we work to solve our nation’s greatest challenges.”

The appointment follows eight years served by Dr Larry Marshall, who completes his third and final term as CEO in June. Kathryn Fagg thanked Dr Marshall for his leadership of the 100-year-old organisation, which since 2016 has seen CSIRO invest $425 million in Horizon 3 future research, identify six National Challenges to focus on solving, launch Missions to tackle big, seemingly impossible problems and play a key role in the global response to COVID-19.


New role for Livestock Transporters’ Mat Munro

The executive director of the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association is moving on to a new role after ten years.

Widely regarded as a particularly savvy and effective agri-lobbiest in Canberra, Mat Munro leaves the organisation to move to the larger, all-encompassing Australian Trucking Association.

Mat Munro

When appointed executive director in 2013, Mr Munro was the ALRTA’s first direct employee, as the body moved from a consultancy based approach. ALRTA now employs three staff directly in its Canberra office, supported by a professional finance team.

Behind the scenes, ALRTA and Mr Munro have worked effectively in delivering a more efficient and effective livestock transport sector. Just some of its recent work has included working with Standards Australia to develop and publish an Australian standard for livestock loading/unloading ramps and forcing pens. Widespread adoption of the Australian Standard will prevent injuries and save lives.

More recently, ALRTA worked with NHVR to develop a registered industry code of practice for managing effluent in the livestock supply chain. For too long the transporter had been the only party held responsible for effluent related load restraint breaches.

And to make a practical difference and demonstrate new concepts, ALRTA has even built and operated critical infrastructure. At Kilcoy Global Foods, the association built an innovative unloading gantry and trialled a user-pay access system. The project proved that transport operators are prepared to make a financial contribution to obtain safer infrastructure sooner – if the price is reasonable.

In partnership with local governments ALRTA has built three effluent disposal facilities on important livestock freight routes.

“New technology is making our industry safer and more efficient,” Mr Munro said in his parting message to stakeholders.

“Heavy vehicles are rapidly becoming computers on wheels. Everything from the phone in the driver’s pocket to the braking and stability systems are becoming ‘smart’ – soon, even our road infrastructure will be talking to the vehicle. Drivers may even become redundant for some types of journeys. Add to this an imminent change in fuel and engine technology and the industry of tomorrow will likely look very different from the industry of today.”

“Charting a course through all this change and uncertainty requires a strong and united voice for the rural road transport sector. ALRTA has been that voice for the past 38 years,” he said.

Applications closed earlier this month in ALRTA’s quest to find a replacement.


ABRI chief operating officer moves into retirement

After 30 years of service to the Agricultural Business Research Institute and the wider international beef industry, chief operating officer and manager of the International Beef Recording Scheme, Steve Skinner has decided to retire.

Mr Skinner started with ABRI as a BreedPlan processor working for the late Arthur Rickards and progressed to the position of COO and manager of ABRI’s beef business, as well as holding the position of ARCBA’s executive officer for eight years.

“Steve’s contribution to, and knowledge of, the Australian and international beef seedstock industries is enormous,” ABRI managing director Hugh Nivison said.

“I have appreciated his wise counsel, deep background understanding, and quiet efficiency in delivering the vitally important IBRS services, including BreedPlan,” Mr Nivison said. “He will be sorely missed.”

“It has been a pleasure to work with the ABRI staff and our clients, and their members for over 30 years.

“I am most proud of the fact that I have been given an opportunity to work in, and make a difference in a business and an industry that are both stimulating and rewarding,” Mr Skinner said.

“There are exciting changes planned for ABRI including the development of the next generation of breed registry software and new options for BreedPlan service delivery, particularly for non-breed society clients.

“I am timing my departure from ABRI when it is looking to identify the best resources and service provision to take the company into the future,” Mr Skinner said.

He departs ABRI in early August. A recruitment process is underway.


AuctionsPlus begins search for CEO

Elders and Nutrien’s online livestock marketing platform AuctionsPlus has started its search for a new chief executive officer. The move follows the departure of former CEO Angus Street to a new position as head of the New Zealand Merino Co.

AuctionsPlus is Australia’s largest digital sales and marketing platform for agricultural products, diversifying recently away from livestock listings and auctions to a broader range of commodities. AuctionsPlus says it is looking for a dynamic and innovative leader to continue to grow their market position targeting sustainable growth in sales and market share through efficient and simple tech solutions, focusing on execution, engagement and education.

Reporting to the AuctionsPlus board and supported by a large a diverse team, the CEO will have overall responsibility for the leadership, management, strategic implementation, growth, profitability, and commercial success of AuctionsPlus.


VFF announces Brendan Tatham as CEO

The Victorian Farmers Federation last month formally appointed Brendan Tatham to lead the state’s peak agricultural advocacy organisation as chief executive officer.

Mr Tatham joined VFF as interim CEO in November, and was successful following an extensive recruitment process which attracted a large pool of applicants.

VFF president Emma Germano said Mr Tatham would bring significant experience and knowledge to the position.

“Brendan brings over 25 years of experience to the VFF from his extensive background in public health, agri-food and emergency management, having held senior leadership positions at the Victorian DPI and as chief executive officer at PrimeSafe,” she said.

“His permanent appointment will better enable the organisation to deliver the best possible results for farmers; exactly what we need to do,” Ms Germano said.

Mr Tatham said he was eager to continue the work that has been started to allow the organisation to embrace the opportunities of the future.

“Farmers are at the core of everything we do, and I look forward to transforming our member’s needs into outcomes by utilising the fast-moving media, technology and political cycles that make up today’s modern advocacy environment,” Mr Tatham said.


Farmers for Climate Action adds to board, seeks new CEO

Farmers for Climate Action has appointed prominent Victorian farmer Brett Hosking to its board, and is seeking a new chief executive.

Mr Hosking is a fifth generation farmer who was chair of Grain Growers Australia from 2018-2022 and a director from 2015; Victorian Farmers Federation vice president from 2016 to 2018, and the organisation’s grains group president from 2013 to 2017.  He runs a mixed farming operation in the Mallee.

Mr Hosking said he was looking forward to working with FCA.

“I have seen first-hand the impacts a changing climate has had on the lives and businesses of our farmers,” he said.

“I have also been excited to see how knowledge and innovation placed in the hands of our growers has led to higher productivity on-farm whilst at the same time reducing emissions.

“I look forward to supporting our farmers to continue producing some of the highest quality food and fibre in the world, using some of the best practices to foster a more sustainable environment.”

Farmers for Climate Action chair Charlie Prell said Mr Hosking would help Farmers for Climate Action grow into an even better organisation.

“Brett Hosking has an incredible history in farm representation and is well known in farm circles for his honesty, integrity and straight talking. As FCA’s membership and influence continues to grow, Brett Hosking is just the sort of person who will help take us forward.”

Meanwhile the organisation is seeking a new chief executive,  following a decision by current CEO Dr Fiona Davis to leave after five years with the organisation, to pursue another opportunity and spend more time with family.

Dr Davis will assist the board in its search for her replacement and will help the new CEO to transition into their role, post her departure in mid-July.

Farmers for Climate Action chair Charlie Prell thanked Fiona for taking the organisation to the next level.

“Dr Davis has overseen the growth of Farmers for Climate Action to now represent 8000 farmers who genuinely lead emissions reduction discussions and influence policy,” Mr Prell said.

“Fiona leaves Farmers for Climate Action in a great position. We will build on her legacy and further strengthen the excellent position she’s leaving us in. We have a very clear strategy with strong alignment across our staff, board, and with our key partners.”


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  1. Peter Vincent, 19/06/2023

    Steve Skinner is to be congratulated and thanked for his service to the beef industry during his long tenure at ABRI. Great work Steve.

  2. Neil Barrie, 19/06/2023

    Great news about PPS Advisory Services. Three professionals with a wealth of complimentary experience and advisory skills under one independent banner.
    I am sure astute current and future clients will prosper through their engagement.

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