THE first female chair of the Australian Wool Exchange, Robyn Clubb, has cited several key achievements and reserves at their highest level in 10 years as her replacement is sought.
Robyn Clubb is the wool marketing and services body’s sixth chair and its first female director, and is standing down after two three-year terms at the 2022 annual general meeting on 25 November.
Expressions of interest are being invited for a paid chairperson to oversee the Australian Wool Exchange Board through the Lucas Group until 30 April.
“Over the last decade the AWEX Board and staff has worked tirelessly to reduce costs and improve reserves to provide for future investments in technology,” Ms Clubb said.
“In 2012, reserves were $5.3m and when I joined the company as a director in 2016, $6.4m.
“As at 30 June 2021 reserves were $8.6m an increase of 60 percent over the decade,” she said.
“AWEX is a modest, independent, not for profit organisation that has an important role within the wool industry of underpinning the integrity of wool.
“To do this AWEX must be financially sound and leverage investments in technology and new services to improve the product offer to the wool industry,” Ms Clubb said.
“As a responsible organisation this requires reserves.”
Ms Clubb said she indicated at the time of assuming the role of Chair that she would only serve in the position for two terms. Of AWEX’s six chairs, only one has served a third term.
“Six years should be enough to make an impact and meaningful contribution to a company.
“Stepping down after two terms provides an opportunity for a new Chair and other directors to lead AWEX in its next growth phase,” she said.
“I believe I am leaving AWEX in good shape and good hands.
“I am actually very proud to have worked at AWEX over the last six years as the board and the management team have worked to develop our product offerings, and to strengthen our balance sheet by building our reserves,” Ms Clubb said.
“This will enable significant further investment in the growth of AWEX in the next 3-5 years.”
In the 2020/21 annual report, Ms Club reported that AWEX completed the financial with a surplus contribution of $970,000, up from $810,000 in 2020, and almost eight times the surplus when she came into the role. In the last financial year, revenue was $5.27m, comprising mainly bale label sales of $2.2m ($1.99m in 2020), recognition of income from the final year of triennial registration of wool classers being $1.5m (2020 $1.47m), and various service fees of $1.087m (2020 $1.078m).
“Consistency in revenue streams and contributions, and reserves of over $8m, will enable AWEX to continue in line with our strategy of developing services for our members, and the broader wool industry,” Ms Clubb said in her report.
Ms Clubb told Sheep Central the AWEX board has always, during her terms, supported investment in our people and new technologies. She listed the AWEX’s key achievements during her tenure as:
– finalising the implementation of our new E3 IT platform which is working very well;
– the launch of WoolClip which continues to gain support as growers, wool classers, and brokers gain an appreciation of the efficiencies this application brings;
– the reviews and improvements to the NWD so that it continues be the core declaration sought by customers as a source of accountability and transparency – it will continue be a pivotal tool in building transparency and trust along the supply chain;
– the receipt of Federal Government funding for AWEX’s traceability project and working with other industry bodies to build an end to end traceability program;
– continuous improvement of the wool classer training and registration process that underpins the high stand of WoolClip preparation for which is Australia is renowned;
– the transfer of SustainaWool to AWEX to provide the Australian wool industry with an excellent Australian-owned quality assurance program.
Ms Clubb said she considered AWEX’s relationships with other industry bodies to be improving and strengthening.
“New people into existing roles allows us to hit the refresh button, and I hope, to act as one industry to face the significant competition from outside the industry, including other fibres and other land use.”
On future challenges and opportunities for AWEX, Ms Clubb said further collaboration and cooperation across the wool industry will ensure the efficient use of AWEX’s finite resources to face the external competition.
“AWEX has a team of clever, dedicated people who drive innovation and better ways of doing things – it’s an important organisation underpinning the Australian wool industry.”
Ms Clubb said she will continue as a non-executive director of a few companies, with a natural bias toward the agricultural sector.
“I am currently a director of Elders Ltd, Craig Mostyn Group, ProTen Limited, Fresh Country Farms and Essential Energy.
“It’s extremely interesting and rewarding working with so many high calibre businesses and people,” she said.
For more information about the the AWEX chair’s job description, activities, duties and responsibilities click here.