Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) has acknowledged the need to draft in new board directors with sales and marketing expertise.
As the search continues to replace outgoing managing director Jason Strong, chairman Donald McGauchie agreed the board needed some new talent to better pursue the company’s global ambitions.
There were few questions from the few shareholders present at today’s Darwin AGM which only lasted 44 minutes.
Mr McGauchie said the company did much of its business in the Northern Territory and the decision from a top 200 Australian Securities Exchange business to hold its AGM in Darwin had been welcomed by Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner.
AACo owns and operates 21 stations, two farms, two feedlots and Mr McGauchie said the company had dramatically increased the efficiency of its Livingstone abattoir south of Darwin.
We have spent the past four years transforming this company and now we have built something to be proud of
Although the company will continue its now four-year transition to become a luxury branded beef business, its remains one of Australia’s largest pastoral companies running 540,000 head over 7 million hectares.
Managing director applauded
Mr Strong was applauded after delivering his final report saying he was leaving AACo “in better shape than when I found it”.
He took on the job in January 2014.
Mr Strong’s sudden departure has led to an internal and external search for a replacement, which the company hopes is in place by year’s end.
“This business is in good shape,” Mr Strong said.
“AACo is more than a CEO, it has great people still in place able to get the job done.”
Although only a few shareholders attended this week’s annual meeting Mr McGauchie was asked about the departure of four senior executives in the past year.
“We will look for the very best people we can get,” he replied, saying a professional recruitment company was leading the search.
Another shareholder said only two of the present directors had any direct experience in marketing and sales and did the company think that was enough.
“No,” Mr McGauchie replied.
“We will be looking to adding to that sort of strength to the board.”
Three directors, Dr Shehan Dissanayake, Anthony Abraham and Stuart Black, were re-elected to the board with overwhelming support.
“We have spent the past four years transforming this company and now we have built something to be proud of,” Mr McGauchie said.
With its push to supply high-quality beef to the top end of Asian markets, Mr McGauchie said the company was “well on its way” to achieve its global ambitions.
“We are in a strong position.”