Research and Development

Former WoolProducers leader Storey seeks AWI board seat

Sheep Central, August 1, 2023

Former WoolProducers Australia president Ed Storey is seeking support for an AWI board nomination.

FORMER WoolProducers Australia president and Yass grower Ed Storey has confirmed he is seeking support to be a candidate in the 2023 Australian Wool Innovation director election.

In a short statement today, Mr Storey said he has had the opportunity to serve growers and the industry as president of WoolProducers Australia over the past four years.

“In that role I had the chance to speak to many wool growers across the country and gain an understanding of the many issues affecting growers across the production sector, as well as work with all sectors of the industry both domestically and internationally along the supply chain,” he said.

Mr Storey said he is keen to put that energy and insight into the industry’s research, development and marketing company to ensure it had impactful R&D programs, effective marketing “and as a company AWI is ruthlessly efficient with levy payers’ money.”

“I am in the process of currently collecting the required 100 signatures to be a candidate.

“I would encourage all levy payers to check with AWI to confirm they are registered as shareholders of AWI,” he said.

“Also, I would encourage all wool growers to check their current contact details with AWI to confirm they are up to date so as to ensure they are able to participate in the election process later this year.”

Mr Storey believes he meets a large number of the skills outlined in AWI’s skills matrix for directors and will be outlining to AWI’s board nomination committee how he meets that criteria.

Mr Storey would not comment on specific AWI levy expenditure items such as the wool marketing and traceability platform WoolQ or the appointment of former AWI CEO Stuart McCullough to an overseas post in 2021.

“These issues, as well as a range of others … it is important for the board to be across them and vigorous in attention as to how money is spent.”

Mr Storey said wool growers pay a compulsory levy and it’s very important that the AWI board and the company is not wasteful of one dollar, “because it is someone else’s money.”

“We need to put as much as we can into effective R&D that shifts the dial on cost of production and marketing, that delivers real value for the levy payers.”

Mr Storey said more collaboration on research and development had been seen from AWI recently.

“But we want to see more; duplication is one thing that I find very frustrating.”

He said minimising duplication had to be a continual focus of AWI to ensure the company is not wasting growers’ money on projects that other bodies are doing.

Three other wool growers have already declared their intent to run for a seat on the AWI board this year: WA Farmers vice president Steve McGuire, Collinsville Merino stud principal George Millington and Western Australian grower Neil Jackson.

Long-serving AWI directors David Webster and James Morgan, and Victorian director Noel Henderson have confirmed they are retiring from the board this year and three new board members will be elected at AWI’s 2023 annual general meeting on Friday 17 November.

AWI has also advertised for suitable candidates for the board, seeking applications to the board nomination committee by 12 July from candidates with specific skillsets; international commercial finance/CFO experience, global supply chain experience including marketing and/or digital transformation and interest in the agricultural sector. AWI has also said board experience is highly regarded as is an understanding of governance and board decision-making processes. Successful candidates in this process do not need to present a nomination form signed by more than 99 eligible shareholders to stand in the election.

AWI BNC is evaluating candidates

Independent chair of the AWI BNC Julie Cox said the committee is currently evaluating a number of candidates from the search process and advertising campaign undertaken by Heidrick & Struggles.

“The other pathway for non-executive director applications is via the grower nominations process that requires support by 99 member signatures.

“Applications under the grower member process open on 1 September and close on 19 September,” she said.

Members seeking further information or assistance in making an application should contact AWI’s company secretary, Lucy Medley on 02 8295 4121or by email [email protected].


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