People on the Move: Appointments, retirements, achievements

Jon Condon, March 23, 2016
  • New CEO for Hassad Australia
  • Brad Banducci appointed as Woolworths head
  • CEO appointment for NFF
  • Former CU head takes on QFF role
  • Honours for young professionals in ag
  • RIRDC appoints new managing director
  • New CEO for CWA

Sheep Central publishes an occasional summary of appointments, retirements  or achievements occurring across the red meat supply chain, both private sector and government. Details for submissions are provided at the bottom of this item.


New CEO for Hassad Australia

Agribusiness industry John McKillop recently took up an appointment as chief executive officer at Hassad Australia, with responsibility for the oversight and general management of the business.

john-mckillop-131112-copyMr McKillop has 25 years’ experience in the agricultural sector in various roles including managing director of Clyde Agriculture and senior roles with AgCAP, Elders, Stanbroke Pastoral Co and Grainco.

He recently completed a three-year term as a director on the board of MLA. He is currently a director of Dairy Australia and the Primary Industries Education Foundation, and spent a period as director of CS Agriculture, which owns and operates the Cubbie Station aggregation, one of Australia’s largest cotton producers.

Hassad Australia was established in November 2009 as Hassad Food Co’s first overseas investment. Hassad Food Co is a subsidiary of Qatar Investment Authority, the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Qatar with a mandate to run a profitable business with sustainable growth as well as to contribute to the food security program for the Gulf state.

Hassad operates 14 agricultural aggregations stretching from southern Queensland to Victoria and WA, totalling 300,000ha of pastoral and cropping enterprises.

CEO appointment for NFF

Tony Mahar last week took up his new position as chief executive officer at the National Farmers Federation.

Tony_Mahar08Mr Mahar has been a key member of the NFF’s leadership team since mid-2012 as deputy CEO and takes over from Simon Talbot who spearheaded a number of transformational initiatives within the organisation over the past 18 months.

NFF President Brent Finlay said Mr Mahar had an outstanding track record across economics, trade and broader agricultural policy. “Tony has been one of the key drivers in setting a new clear and progressive strategic direction for the organisation and how it will best represent the Australian agriculture industry,” Mr Finlay said.

“He has some of the nation’s best skills across agriculture and economics and, due to his knowledge and experience, is undoubtedly the best person to lead the NFF and drive the implementation of the organisation’s future strategy in what is an exciting growth stage for both our organisation and the broader industry.”

Mr Finlay paid tribute to outgoing CEO Simon Talbot, who has taken up an appointment in the corporate sector.

Brad Banducci appointed as Woolworths CEO

Experienced retailer Brad Banducci has taken over the reins as Woolworths’ new chief executive officer and managing director. The announcement, effective immediately, was made during Woolworths’ half year results briefing recently.

Brad Banducci WoolworthsMr Banducci is currently managing director of Woolworths Food Group and will continue to act in that role pending a new appointment. He has 25 years’ experience in retail, including 15 years consulting to some of the world’s leading retailers, in addition to private equity experience in retail.  He has had five years with Woolworths

Mr Banducci said he was an entrepreneur at heart, and a retailer by discipline, and wanted to take the company back to its best levels of performance. “My goal as CEO will be to recapture the spirit of innovation and customer focus right across the business, and to grow a culture where our people once again feel a strong ownership of the business.”

He has a Master of Business Administration from the Australian Graduate School of Management and received Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Commerce degrees from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in his native South Africa.

Honours for young WA professionals in ag

Western Australian university graduate Maddison Corlett has received the state’s 2016 Young Professionals in Agriculture Forum top honour. The annual forum recognises the work of students who have completed an undergraduate degree at a WA university. Finalists are required to submit a research paper and deliver a presentation.


Young Professionals in Agriculture Forum finalist Laura Grubb with overall winner Maddison Corlett.

Maddison, a Murdoch University Animal Science graduate, presented her paper on the inclusion of biserrula chaff in the diet of sheep to reduce methane production.

Her work involving Merino wethers found including biserrula chaff in the diet of sheep did not reduce methane yield and suggested future research should be directed to greater utilisation of the feeding value of pastures while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Maddison was awarded a CRC scholarship to complete her PhD project at Murdoch University, to investigate consumer perceptions about the colour of lamb and yearling beef.

The other finalist, Murdoch University Animal Science graduate Laura Grubb, was awarded best presentation for her examination of the impact of mycotoxin consumption on the incidence of dark cutting. Her study used data obtained from 3185 head of cattle from Tasmania, accumulated between March and June 2015.

As discussed in this earlier Beef Central article, results from that survey suggest that decreasing the consumption of ochratoxin A would minimise dark-cutting beef but suggested further studies were required with a more extensive sampling period.

Ms Grubb has advocated for a greater youth voice in agriculture as the 2015 Angus Youth Beef Australia Scholar and was involved in the 2015 Youth Ag Summit in Canberra.

The Young Professionals event is hosted by the Ag Institute Australia (WA Division) and supported by the Department of Agriculture and Food. The young professionals forum was followed by a PhD candidate showcase of work, including Joe Steer (University of WA), Tim Haskett (Murdoch University) and Alison Renwick (Curtin University).

Former CU head takes on QFF role

Ruth WadeFormer head of the Cattlemens Union of Australia, Ruth Wade, has been appointed interim chief executive of the Queensland Farmers Federation. Ms Wade took up her new position late last year, having retired earlier as executive director of Ricegrowers Association of Australia. Ms Wade has a combined 25 years of experience in Agricultural and business management within Queensland and internationally.

Ms Wade has a long association to the agricultural industries, including former roles as executive director of The Cattlemen’s Union of Australia, director of Meat & Livestock Australia and as a director of the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority.

New CEO for CWA

Danica Leys headshotThe Country Women’s Association of NSW has appointed Danica Leys as its new chief executive. Danica brings fresh enthusiasm to the NSW arm of Australia’s largest women’s organisation, as well as a raft of experience in not-for-profit, government and rural organisations.

Danica has most recently been with NSW Farmers, in both policy and industrial relations areas, and in 2012 she was awarded the NSW Rural Women’s Award for her efforts in the rural sector. She has held board positions with Australian Women in Agriculture Limited, AgChatOZ Incorporated and The University of Sydney Agriculture Alumni.

Ms Leys advocacy experience will be a powerful asset to the CWA of NSW, as will her youth.

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  1. Peter Small, March 24, 2016

    What about some news also about significant resignations, i.e Jimmy Jackson from AWI?

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