Wool industry leader John Roberts has been appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of Australian Wool Innovation.
As the acting AWI CEO since October 2021, Mr Robert's appointment followed a selection process conducted by international executive recruitment firm Heidrick and Struggles.
AWI chairman Jock Laurie said Mr Roberts has extensive experience in Australia's wool industry as well as working three years in China.
"John has in depth knowledge of the key players throughout the industry from the farm gate to the fashion catwalk," Mr Laurie said.
"He has a big job to do in addressing many issues on behalf of Australia's woolgrowers including tackling the shortage of shearers plus keeping Australian wool as the world's premium natural fibre".
Mr Roberts, who stems from a wool-producing family at Binalong in southern NSW, has worked in a wide range of roles at AWI including managing international offices and being the company's chief operating officer.
He has also worked in private agribusiness companies, including as a wool buyer, trader and processor.
Mr Roberts said he was pleased to be named as the CEO and said he will continue to address the key issues faced by Australian woolgrowers - shearer shortages, combatting flystrike and the current market for Australian wool just to name a few.
"It is an enormous privilege and brings with it great responsibility to deliver programs here in Australia and around the world that help make Australian woolgrowing more profitable and sustainable," Mr Roberts said.
"The shortage of shearers is something AWI is working hard to address. We are running extra training courses as well as looking at other high-tech improvements to attract and retain shearers."
He said they were also busing preparing new resources for woolgrowers to fight flystrike and marketing Australian wool in the 'post-Covid' world.
"There is still uncertainty regarding COVID and its ongoing effect on our key markets," Mr Roberts said.
"However, it appears for the moment at least, that economies are recovering and that consumer spending i building back up to to pre-Covid levels, although not all markets and sectors are recovering at the same rate."
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