SHOCK resignations, personality clashes, leaked emails, internal politics boiling over and a rather hefty executive churn were all part and parcel of life in Australia’s beef business in 2017.
Industry movement was anything but mundane.
From the surprising departure in August of chief executive officer Jason Strong from the country’s largest cattle operation Australian Agriculture Company to the fact peak producer body Cattle Council had three CEOs in the space of just over six months, there has been plenty to report in the space of comings and goings on in the beef industry.
A plethora of new leaders at breed societies, the shuffling around of technical and marketing positions in agribusiness outfits and new roles – or just new names for old roles – at service provider organisations filled the space between the big resignations of the year.
Mr Strong’s goodbye, which came with little explanation during the Brisbane Ekka, was just one in a line of top executive rank exits at AACo and has heralded much speculation about where the company is headed.
Duncan Bremnar parted ways with CCA in July after taking the reigns from Jed Matz – who is now CEO at the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia.
Once again the reasons were sketchy with Mr Bremner simply saying he had come to the conclusion he was “not the right person to lead the CCA in its current form through the significant reforms they must undertake”.
CCA’s communications manager Margo Andrae was put in as acting CEO.
Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association CEO Tracey Hayes decided three years was enough and Paul Burke made the shift from AgForce to take that job.
Key appointments were also made at Meat and Livestock Australia, including highly-regarded cattle market expert Ben Thomas’s move from manager of market information to the MLA Donar Company.
Scott Tolmie now heads up the market intelligence team, while on the global scene trade and market access manager Andrew McCallum has been joined by Mary Johnson.
The service provider’s domestic advertising guru Andrew Howie also left in November to join Westpac. Natalie Isaac takes on the role of global manager industry insights and strategy.
Meanwhile, leading meat scientist Dr Peter McGIlchrist, whose work in dark cutting has been trailblazing, made the move from Western Australia’s Murdoch University to Armidale’s University of New England.
Early in the year, feedlot industry stalwart buyer Richard Eldershaw left Rangers Valley after close to three decades.
Herefords Australia topped the industry movement excitement for breed societies when Alex Ball opted to forego the CEO role less than 12 months in but then take up another managerial position with the organisation.
Former HA breed development manager Andrew Donoghue was appointed general manager, a position which replaces the CEO role.
The development came amid internal bickering with attempts to oust directors.
Up at the Australian Brahman Breeders Association, Robert Biddle was gone after less than a year with Anastasia Fanning becoming the new CEO in October.
Stephen Ware is now heading up the Santa Gertrudis breed after Ben Noller switched to Charolais, working with Palgrove.