AUSTRALIAN-based grains supply chain expert and experienced corporate leader Nigel Hart has been announced as the new managing director of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
GRDC chairman John Woods said a comprehensive search for a new MD had successfully resulted in the internationally recognised and well-known agricultural-sector identity stepping into the leadership role.
“We are pleased to have Nigel joining GRDC as a high-calibre leader with more than 25 years’ experience in senior executive roles with organisations such as global agribusiness corporation Archer Daniels Midland and GrainCorp,” Mr Woods said.
“Strategically GRDC is well-positioned to continue to deliver effective and efficient research, development and extension (RD&E) and Nigel’s experience and understanding of the grains sector both within Australian and internationally will add significant value.
“At GRDC, our people are our most important asset and Nigel has a successful record of building and managing highly engaged, cross-functional teams, so we look forward to his leadership skills further enhancing and developing our GRDC team.
“The GRDC Board is confident that Nigel’s management and strategic business skills and extensive agricultural sector networks will ensure a smooth leadership transition that supports the ongoing delivery of impactful RD&E outcomes for Australian grain growers.”
Mr Woods thanked Cathie Warburton, who handled the interim MD role during the executive recruitment campaign, and will return to her position as GRDC general manager people, communications and governance.
Mr Hart has recently been engaged in specialist consulting roles for a number of grains industry organisations, and will start with GRDC on April 4.
He hails from a family with farming connections at Junee in southern New South Wales.
“Within Australia and internationally, GRDC is recognised for spearheading cutting-edge research, development and extension in the grains sector and I am thrilled to have an opportunity to be a part of that,” Mr Hart said.
He has a long involvement with the Australian grains sector at many levels, from on-farm experiences to working as global director for an international agribusiness organisation with destination markets across Asia, Europe, South America and the US.
“I hope my experience and understanding of the grains sector will add value to GRDC and, together with GRDC staff, we will continue to drive innovation and best practice in Australia’s grain sector.”
Mr Woods said the incoming MD would play a vital role in the development of the next five-year RD&E Plan 2023-28.
“We are firmly focussed on executing our ambitious RD&E agenda, and we are also working on finding new ways to be more responsive to local issues and strengthen our direct connection with growers, particularly utilising our valuable regional network,” Mr Woods said.
“Nigel will add to the existing strong and experienced executive team, supported by highly respected regional panels.”
In late 2019, it was announced that Dr Steve Jefferies would step down in mid-2020 after four years as GRDC MD.
Food and agriculture executive Anthony Williams, who had been working overseas with Goodman Fielder and Bunge, was recruited to replace him, and took up the role in August 2020.
The MD position has been vacant since May last year, when GRDC announced it had parted ways with Mr Williams.