Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief

Farm Online News
A2 Milk Company managing director, Geoffrey Babidge, with his eventual successor, Jayne Hrdlicka.

A2 Milk Company managing director, Geoffrey Babidge, with his eventual successor, Jayne Hrdlicka.


A quick look at some of the people and events making news in the agribusiness sector.


New boss to join A2 Milk

The A2 Milk Company Limited has appointed Jetstar boss, Jayne Hrdlicka, to succeed Geoffrey Babidge as managing director during the second half of 2018.

Mr Babidge’s retirement will follow an orderly handover which has been planned to ensure the current momentum of the business continues.

Ms Hrdlicka has been chief executive of Qantas subsidiary, Jetstar Group, for five years, also serving as a director of Woolworths in this time.

In her earlier career she was a partner at management consultancy firm Bain and Company in the US.

She commences her role at the start of the 2019 financial year, while Mr Babidge will assist the transition until December.

Mr Babidge established A2’s current Australian business in 2007 and became managing director  in 2010.

The changeover follows a reorganisation within the A2’s senior team last year including the appointment of Peter Nathan as chief executive for Asia Pacific.

Lloyd to exit Hort Innovation Australia

Horticulture Innovation Australia is starting the search for a new chief executive in the wake of news John Lloyd will retire later this year.

Horticulture Innovation Australia chief executive officer, John Lloyd.

Horticulture Innovation Australia chief executive officer, John Lloyd.

The Hort Innovation board confirmed Mr Lloyd will step down from the peak research body for the $9 billion horticulture industry in the second half of 2018.

He has headed Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL), which then transformed to become Hort Innovation, since 2009.

He will support the board during the succession process, providing ongoing leadership continuity through this period

Mr Lloyd has been the principal driver behind the development of the new company’s innovative funding models.

He said he would move on to pursue new opportunities in the latter part of 2018.

“It’s been my privilege to lead the research and development corporation,” he said.

“Everything we do in horticulture allows people to live happier, healthier, longer and more productive lives – this has been reflected in the tremendous growth of the sector over the past 10 years.”

Saputo Inc chairman, Lino A Saputo, Jnr.

Saputo Inc chairman, Lino A Saputo, Jnr.

Saputo talks at dairy event

Why is the Australian dairy viewed as such a lucrative investment for those beyond our shores?

The Australian Dairy Conference in Melbourne tackles global investment and the future of the nation’s dairy industry when keynote speakers, including Canadian chairman of the big Saputo dairy business, Lino Saputo, join discussions from February 13 to 15.

Other notable speakers include New Zealand farmer Colin Armer talking about his herd growth from zero to 13,000 cows, and Tasmanian Nuffield scholar Matthew Gunningham identifying aspects considered important for dairy investment and factors making farm enterprises more investor-ready.

Mr Saputo will outline why he deems Australia an attractive proposition for investment.

Conference programming chairman, Scott Fitzgerald, said many dairy farmers faced uncertain futures and the aim was to shed light on how outsiders viewed our industry given significant interest in the industry from Canada, China and beyond.

“As an industry, dairy farmers are quite critical of ourselves as we continue to strive for better practices, methods and growth,” he said.

“To gain an external view of the industry and our environment is significant to appreciate what we are in fact getting right and recognise the assets we have at our disposal.”

Registrations for dairy farmers cost $450 a day, or $715 for non-farmer attendees.

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RASV appoints Guerra

The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) has appointed Melbourne produce markets boss, Paul Guerra, as its chief executive officer, commencing on February 12.

Mr Guerra has held managing director and chairman level roles and has a wide range of experience in the Asia Pacific across many sectors.

He has been chairman of the Queen Victoria Market since 2011 and most recently worked as Asia Pacific managing director for health services provider Optum International.

Mr Guerra was Victorian director of Vodafone and previously vice president of Motorola Asia Pacific, where he had a 17-year career.

He replaces RASV CEO Mark O’Sullivan who resigned in October after 12 years in the job.​

COFCO Asia Pacific boss

Giant Chinese agricultural trader, COFCO International, has hired former Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) boss Frederik Groth to head its Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.

The new managing director’s job for APAC excludes China.

Mr Groth previously headed ADM’s trading arm in Asia and worked at Toepfer International as head of its Asia unit from 2012 to 2014 prior to ADM absorbing the business.

“Frederik brings more than 20 years of experience in agriculture commodities to his role, including 15 in Singapore and APAC,” COFCO International said.


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