People on the move

People on the Move in the grain industry

Grain Central, May 22, 2023

Professor Rajeev Varshney has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society. Photo: Murdoch University

Who is on the move in the Australian grain industry? Catch up with our latest update on industry appointments, rewards and achievements.

  • Market access council forms
  • InterGrain announces appointments
  • New CEO for SunRice
  • Evans joins Long Seed & Grain
  • Royal Society Fellowship for Varshney
  • Changes on GrainGrowers board
  • Tatham secures VFF role
  • McCann to head dealership network

Market access council forms

Grains Australia Limited has appointed 11 industry representatives to its newly established Grains Market Access Council.

Council members include experts from across the supply chain and one representative from each of the existing Grains Australia commodity councils.

The role of GMAC is to provide strategic advice to the Grains Australia Board on trade and market access matters, to ensure efficient coordination of whole-of-industry responses to trade and market access objectives and priorities, and to provide a consistent and communicative approach to key stakeholders. 

Appointments to GMAC were made following expressions of interest, and GMAC joins Grains Australia’s other councils established last year for wheat, barley and oats.

“The focus of GMAC will be how we can best generate value for the Australian grains industry through new or improved market access, so it is critical we bring together expertise from across different commodities,” Grains Australia chair Terry Enright said.

“We look forward to welcoming additional representatives from the pulse and oilseed councils when they are established,” Mr Enright said.  

GMAC members are:

  •  Julie Alvaro: Western Australian grower representing Grains Australia’s Wheat Council;
  • Lyndon Asser: International grain trader and marketer specialising in barley;
  • Rob Dickie: brings experience in international marketing and trade, including on biosecurity, sustainability and government relations;
  • Brett Hosking: Victorian grower with a strong background in advocacy, governance and trade; 
  • Luke Matthews: NSW grower with experience in trade management, policy and research;  
  • John Minogue: New South Wales grower and former GRDC Northern panellist and chair;
  • Luke O’Connor: Barley trading and logistics representing Grains Australia’s Barley Council;
  • Adrian Reginato: Market access, regulations and technical barriers to trade; 
  • Rosemary Richards: Trade and market access, particularly for oilseeds;
  • John Stuart: Grain trading and exports; 
  • Michael Vaccari: Market development, oat milling and export sales and procurement representing Grains Australia’s Oat Council.

InterGrain announces appointments

Seed company InterGrain has appointed a new chair in Karlie Mucjanko has been appointed Chair of InterGrain, along with two new directors, Tracy Lefroy and Bob Mullins. 

Ms Mucjanko joined the InterGrain board in 2019 and brings extensive experience in agriculture and business strategy to the role. 

She is a director of several other agricultural organisations and held executive positions with CBH Group from 2005 to 2018.

Ms Mucjanko succeeds Ian Brown, who has been on the InterGrain board since 2014 and served as chair for the past six years. 

“I am excited to step into the role of chair and continue to build on InterGrain’s successes in delivering value in the Australian grains industry,” Ms Mucjanko said.

“InterGrain owes a great debt of gratitude to Ian for his years of service as chair; he has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and success, and we will continue to build on the strong foundation he has laid.” 

Ms Lefroy and Mr Mullins join Chris Bazley, Julie Cox and Ms Mucjanko on the InterGrain board. 

Image: InterGrain Board of Directors (L-R) Tracy Lefroy, Chris Bazley, Karlie
Mucjanko, Bob Mullins. Absent: Julie Cox. Photo: InterGrain

Ms Lefroy is a grower, businesswoman and community leader based in Moora, Western Australia, while Mr Mullins is an agribusiness executive with extensive experience in agriculture and the plant science industry. 

“As a grain grower I understand the importance of competitive crop varieties and am thrilled to be able to shape the direction and strategy of InterGrain to continue to deliver grower value,” Ms Lefroy said. 

“I am looking forward to working with a world-class plant breeding company that is rapidly adopting new breeding technologies and delivering real benefits to the grains industry,” Mr Mullins said. 

New CEO for SunRice

Ricegrowers has announced Paul Serra as the replacement for Rob Gordon as chief executive officer and managing director  of the SunRice Group. 

Mr Gordon announced his intention to retire in December 2022 and will step down from his SunRice roles at the conclusion of the company’s annual general meeting on August 23.

Mr Serra joins SunRice from Olam Food Ingredients, New York, where he was managing director North America.

SunRice CEO and managing director Paul Serra.

Prior to joining Olam, Mr Serra held senior executive roles at the Campbells Soup Company, and was previously in operational roles at Arnotts Biscuits ANZ.

“It is a great honour and privilege to be appointed as the CEO and managing director of SunRice, a leading global food group and one of Australia’s leading branded food exporters, at such an important time in the Group’s evolution as it continues its expansion both in Australia and overseas,” Mr Serra said. 

“Paul is an accomplished executive whose leadership skills and global experience in the growth and transformation of complex and diverse organisations will provide the right mix to continue to build on the SunRice Group’s growth strategy,” SunRice chair Laurie Arthur said.

Mr Serra will join SunRice in early July to allow for an orderly leadership transition before commencing his dual role on 23 August 2023.

Evans joins Long Seed & Grain

South Australian business Long Seed & Grain has welcomed David Evans to its team as SA grains manager looking after accumulation and broking for domestic and export markets.

David Evans.

Based in Strathalbyn, Mr Evans was previously with Farm Business Network, following seven years as GrainGrowers’ regional manager and a long stint with AWB-Cargill.

He hails from a farming background, and has managed family properties at Keyneton and Kybybolite in the Murray-Mallee.

Mr Evans started with Long Seed & Grain in February, and deals with wheat, barley, canola and pulses.

Royal Society Fellowship for Varshney

Agricultural scientist Professor Rajeev Varshney has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, the first person from Murdoch University to do so in its near 50-year history. 

An expert in crop genomics, genetics, molecular breeding and capacity building in developing countries, Professor Varshney is the third Australian to join the prestigious organisation from the field of Agricultural Sciences and Forestry, and one of just 13 worldwide.

“I am thrilled to be included with the stalwarts and giants of my field such as Norman Borlaug, MS Swaminathan, Jim Peacock, and Gurdev Khush, who have been inspiration and role models not only for me but all agricultural scientists across the world,” Professor Varshney said. 

“I am grateful to my colleagues and collaborators from Australia, India, Germany, and many countries in Asia, Africa, America with whom I got an opportunity work during the last 25 years”. 

Meeting CIMMYT wheat scientist and 1970 Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug inspired a career pivot that led Professor Varshney to develop life-changing solutions for some of the world’s poorest farmers.  

Today he is a Clarivate Analytics’ highly cited researcher and director of Murdoch’s Centre for Crop and Food Innovation as well as the State Agricultural Biotechnology Centre.

Through both, he leads the discovery, development, and delivery of innovative solutions to tackle problems facing global agriculture such as food security in the changing climate. 

Established in the United Kingdom in 1660, the Society’s fundamental purpose is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity. 

Professor Varshney will travel to London in July to be formally admitted to the Society.

“Throughout his research he has kept a keen focus sustainability that has impacted the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” Murdoch University Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Deeks said. 

“He is a very fitting recipient of this high honour and we are very proud to have him as Murdoch’s first Royal Society Fellow.” 

Changes on GrainGrowers board

GrainGrowers has announced the appointment to its board of two independent directors, Richard Norton and Jane Bennett, to its board to replace outgoing directors Mark Allison and Fiona Nash.

Mr Allison finished his term in late 2022 and has been acting in an advisory capacity, while Ms Nash stepped down on May 1, citing an increased workload in her position as Regional Education Commissioner.

GrainGrowers chair Rhys Turton said Mr Allison and Ms Nash have made significant contributions, and were being replaced by exceptionally well credentialed non-grower members.

Dr Norton has held executive positions in retail, innovation, logistics, marketing and agribusiness for over 30 years.

He is currently the CEO of Food Agility, delivering innovation programs for the Australian agrifood industry and was managing director of Meat and Livestock Australia from 2014-19.

Dr Norton’s previous board positions include Agrium Asia Pacific, Australian Wheat Board, Landmark Harcourts, Australian Wool Handlers and AuctionsPlus.

Ms Bennett has over 30 years of experience working in agrifood businesses across Tasmania and the United Kingdom.

She is the current Chair of Hop Products Australia and is a non-executive director of Nuffield Australia.

Ms Bennett is a previous managing director of Tas Foods and has been a non-executive director for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, CSIRO, Tasmanian Ports Corporation and the Australian Farm Institute.

The GrainGrowers Board comprises six grower directors, two from the northern, southern and western regions, and two independent directors.

Tatham secures VFF role

The Victorian Farmers Federation has announced today that Brendan Tatham has been formally appointed as its chief executive officer.

VFF CEO Brendan Tatham.

Mr Tatham joined VFF as its interim CEO in November last year.

“Farmers are at the core of everything we do, and I look forward to transforming our member’s needs into outcomes by utilising the fast-moving media, technology and political cycles that make up today’s modern advocacy environment,” Mr Tatham said.

VFF president Emma Germano said she was delighted to announce the appointment of Mr Tatham and the significant experience and knowledge that he would continue to share with the organisation.

“Brendan brings over 25 years of experience to the VFF from his extensive background in public health, agrifood and emergency management, having held senior leadership positions at the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries and as Chief Executive Officer at PrimeSafe,” Ms Germano said.

“Since taking the reins as VFF Interim CEO in late 2022, he has helped fast-track the transformation of the VFF.”

McCann to head dealership network

Kenway and Clark has appointed its first chief executive officer in Pete McCann, who is coming to the dealership network after 13 years with CNH Industrial and three years with Yarraman Group.

Pete McCann.

Kenway and Clark started in Moree in 1960 as an International harvester dealership, and now has seven Case IH dealerships across north-west New South Wales.

“A seasoned leader, Pete will bring an unbridled wealth of knowledge and experience into the business,” Kenway and Clark said on its Twitter feed last week.

Mr McCann finished up with CNH Industrial in February after nearly five years as national general manager.

In February, he also completed a four-year term on the board of Tractor and Machinery Association of Australia.

Mr McCann starts in his new role on June 1.




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