London has been revealed as the likely destination for the new chief marketing and innovation officer role created for former Australian Wool Innovation CEO Stuart McCullough.
AWI chairman Jock Laurie told Senate estimates on Tuesday that the recently announced overseas posting would be likely to be based in London, to allow him "to get into the markets that we need".
"One of the things as I view it is that he needs to actually be embedded in the market to get a gut feeling about what's happening in those markets and I know from his experience of the wool industry he can then provide that information back to us," he said.
"I don't think we can be complacent at all in this very competitive market, we need to drive it very hard."
Mr McCullough had been CEO for 12 years and has already moved into his new role, but the move overseas is expected to happen in early 2022.
Mr Laurie said as part of his CEO's role, Mr McCullough had already been overseeing the area which would form his new role and they wanted to focus on it more on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We want the intellectual property that Stuart has, his contacts and his ability and understanding of the issue to be focused 100 per cent of the time on that, not necessarily about 20pc of his time," he said.
Mr Laurie confirmed that Mr McCullough was offered the role directly, rather than AWI holding an executive search to fill the position.
"We can identify people with talent that fit into a specific area, we can get them in there and then be able to utilise their skills... this is not unusual," he said.
Asked by Senator Glenn Sterle as to how much the move to London might cost levy payers, Mr Laurie said the board was prepared to offer Mr McCullough the equivalent of his net wage, while costings around tax implications came to $25,000, the cost of living difference was about $40,000 and shipping costs were yet to be calculated.
"He's not getting the same package because he's not getting the short term incentive that the CEO would get, but he's getting his wage.. which is a reduction of about 10 to 15pc," he said.
Mr Laurie said a 15pc short term incentive for Mr McCullough might have amounted to $50,000 to $60,000.
Talking about the need for the role, Mr Laurie said AWI had "depowered the management" of its overseas offices during COVID-19 and it was about "repowering where we have depowered it over the COVID period".
Asked by Senator Perin Davey how the costs of the new role would affect the salary budget across the AWI executive would be affected, Mr Laurie said it "was not going up at this stage".
AWI chief operating officer John Roberts has stepped into the role of acting CEO ahead of a search process to determine who will fill the top job on a more permanent basis.
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