AFTER 17 years in Asia and eight years in the United Kingdom and Europe, Stephan Titze has returned to Australia to become the president of Incitec Pivot Fertilisers.
Mr Titze said he was delighted to lead Incitec Pivot Fertilisers at a time when Australian agriculture was growing on the back of increased export demand.
“In these first few weeks, I have quickly learnt that the IPF team is committed to providing excellent service and products to our customers,” he said.
“I am looking forward to meeting our customers, strengthening our relationships and growing our businesses together.”
Mr Titze has vast experience in growing and leading agribusinesses, particularly in Asia.
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Most recently, he was the head of Asia Pacific for Netafim, one of the world’s leading irrigation company which has a strong presence in Australia.
Over the preceding 14 years, he was general manager of Syngenta in Indonesia, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, and was also involved in the company’s seeds business.
“Swiss by birth but Australian by choice, I was lucky enough to study horticulture technology, rural management and agricultural marketing at the University of Queensland’s Gatton campus in the 1980s,” Mr Titze said.
“My first job was with ICI Crop Care as a sales rep in far north Queensland, followed by herbicide product manager in Melbourne.”
He spent the following eight years at Zeneca Agrochemicals in a variety of marketing strategy and general management roles in the United Kingdom, Europe and Eastern Europe before returning to Australia as marketing manager for Syngenta when the company was formed in 2000.
After spending his entire career in agribusiness, Mr Titze said he was optimistic about the future for Australian agriculture.
Across all my previous experiences, the common denominator has always been innovation, and at Incitec Pivot Fertilisers, we will aim to bring new plant nutrition solutions to the market and work with our customers to grow together.
“Agriculture is continuing to develop quickly in Australia and Asia, where a growing middle class wants more and better food,” he said.
“However, resources such as land, water and labour are constrained in many countries and require new technologies to meet the growing demand.
“These new technologies, including digital, open up new opportunities and challenges for growers, distributors and manufacturers.”
Mr Titze said agriculture is now a more attractive industry for young people to join and sustainability is becoming increasingly important – just like farm economics has always been.
“Across all my previous experiences, the common denominator has always been innovation, and at Incitec Pivot Fertilisers, we will aim to bring new plant nutrition solutions to the market and work with our customers to grow together.”
Mr Titze takes up the reins in the midst of a challenging incident for Incitec Pivot which announced there would be production cuts at its Phosphate Hill facility due to flooding cutting the rail line between the production plant and Townsville after the recent flooding.
However, it is unlikely to have a major influence on fertiliser supply and demand or pricing.
The Phosphate Hill facility is currently undergoing a progressive shutdown as IPL waits for confirmation as to when the rail line can open once again.
The site, located 1000 kilometres west of Townsville, manufactures ammonium phosphate based fertilisers, with annual production capacity of 975,000 tonnes.
IPL currently estimates that the impact of the rail closure will give rise to lost earnings of about $10m per week from February 9, 2019 until the resumption of full production, however the facility itself at Phosphate Hill is not damaged.