New structure for MLA’s International Business Unit

Sheep Central, December 15, 2014

Meat & Livestock Australia managing director Richard Norton has announced a significant restructure of the company’s regional management team and approach to operations, covering key red meat markets in Asia, North America and the Middle East.

mlablockw-namergbThe changes, subject to industry consultation, are part of a broader process in seeking improved efficiencies for the industry service delivery company. Click here to view an earlier Sheep Central article on that process.

“At the moment we have staff flying on a regular basis around the world at a cost to levy payers,” Mr Norton said, in a statement issued to staff late Friday afternoon.

“There is no doubt of the value of our work in international markets, but we need to be sure we are being as efficient as possible.”

According to the advice issued to MLA personnel and key stakeholders on Friday, the seven regional management roles will be merged into six international business management positions.

Missing from the list is current Indonesia region manager Dr John Akerman, who has resigned and will leave the company in February.

The international business managers would be responsible for all in-country activities in the markets they manage, including market access and live export where applicable. Previously, live export and boxed meat export functions were mostly treated separately.

The reduction in numbers also reflects a change to the management of the Asian region – moving away from the management of individual markets and towards an Asian Hub.

“We have seen the success of the hub approach in our management of Middle East North Africa (MENA), where we have a manager with responsibility over multiple markets,” Mr Norton said.

“We currently have highly-skilled staff located in offices through the Asian region. They have built relationships with our key stakeholders in these markets over many, many years. The proposed changes will let us leverage these skills more broadly across the region,” he said.

Under the proposed restructure, the current regional offices and their staffing will not change. However managers for the regional offices may no longer be based in that region on a permanent basis.

The restructured Asian Hub will be serviced by three IBMs:

  • An IBM based in Beijing with responsibility for China, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It is proposed Michael Finucan (currently the regional manager for South Korea) will take up this position.
  • An IBM based in Singapore with responsibility for Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Burma and India. It is proposed Andrew Simpson (currently regional manager for China) will take up this position.
  • An IBM based in Japan will remain, but will have more of a role in working with the other markets, particularly in relation to consumer marketing. It is proposed Andrew Cox will remain in this position.

The first aspect that becomes apparent from the re-deployment is that Michael Finucan assumes considerably more market responsibility than what he previously held. Added to his original focus on South Korea (Australia’s third largest export customer), is the critically-important China market (currently ranked fourth), plus Taiwan (sixth among export customers).

In addition to these changes, a new Indonesian based role is being created to focus on market access including technical trade barriers. Two strong external candidates, already currently based in Indonesia, have been identified for the role.

The international business managers located in North America (David Pietsch), the European Union (Michael Crowley) and Middle East/North Africa (David Beatty) will remain unchanged.

One of the six IBM roles will also take on responsibility as general manager of the International Markets team, Friday’s advice to staff said.

In addition to the IBMs reporting to the role, the managers of the Australian-based live export and market access programs will also report to the general manager for international business management.

The general manager will in turn report directly to the managing director.

Dependent on the outcome of industry consultation around the proposed restructure, an internal recruitment process will be conducted for this role with an announcement likely in early February, stakeholders were told.





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