FORMER mushrooms boss Greg Seymour has taken up the reins as chief executive officer of the Australian Olive Association (AOA).
Mr Seymour was the Australian Mushroom Growers’ Association (AMGA) general manager for 19 years.
AOA president, Peter O’Meara, announced Mr Seymour's appointment last week.
Mr Seymour, who started in the role on March 1, took over from olive grower, Lisa Rowntree, who has taken on the executive assistant position.
Mr Seymour has been meeting directors and travelling to various olive producing regions.
He also met several AOA members at the recent Super High-Density Field Day in South Australia.
Mr O’Meara said Mr Seymour was the ideal candidate for the CEO role, given his extensive experience in horticulture industry leadership backed by formal qualifications in both agriculture and management.
“Greg has a distinguished career in various roles in agriculture in Australia,” Mr O’Meara said.
“He is also well-known internationally, with strong industry relationships in over 20 countries, and holds the position of president with the International Society for Mushroom Science.
“Prior to joining AMGA, Greg held management roles within the NSW Department of Agriculture, focussing on horticulture and international trade development.
“All of this followed on from an initial career as a district horticulturist in the Lower Murray region, where he gained extensive practical knowledge of irrigated horticulture in an arid climate."
Mr Seymour said he was excited about joining the Australian olive industry.
"Australian extra virgin olive oil (AEVOO) is such a great fresh, tasty and healthy product," he said in a letter to growers.
"I look forward to working with you, and our service providers to ensure consumers in Australia and around the world understand why they should be choosing AEVOO as their preferred olive oil."
Mr Seymour said the industry had great commercial potential both domestically and internationally, and that he planned on leading the AOA to help unlock the opportunities.
"I want to hear your stories so I can get a grass roots understanding of where you believe the industry needs to go, and how the AOA can assist that to happen," he said.
"I am very pleased that Lisa Rowntree will be staying on to manage the secretariat and look after our very important competitions and events.
"Her corporate knowledge and industry experience will be retained in the organisation and make my transition into the CEO role much quicker and easier."
Mr O’Meara said Mr Seymour's extensive experience working with Horticulture Innovation Australia on research and development programs would be valuable in delivering quantifiable outcomes for industry, one of the major areas of focus currently for the AOA.
“We look forward to working with Greg at this dynamic time for the Australian olive industry, and to achieving similar outstanding results for our growers and producers in terms of market demand and profitability as he did for the mushroom industry,” Mr O'Meara said.