GrainCorp appoints new managing director

The chairman of GrainCorp, Don Taylor, has announced that the Board of Directors has appointed Mark Irwin as managing director and chief executive officer.

"We are pleased that Mark Irwin, most recently a director of mining and metals with Standard Bank London Plc, has accepted our offer to become the managing director and chief executive officer of GrainCorp, based in Sydney," Mr Taylor said. “Mark has an ideal background for the role, at a personal and professional level. His family has been farming on the Darling Downs for four generations, where Mark spent much of his youth and developed a passion and understanding for our sector.”

"Mark is an outstanding executive with strong international business experience. He has demonstrated strong leadership skills, financial acumen and a successful track record in the mining and financial sectors.”

Mark Irwin is a qualified lawyer and holds a Masters in Business Administration. He will commence with the company on 31 March 2008. His most recent role involved heading up a team of finance professionals, based in London, who specialise in global mining and metals corporate transactions. This role included working on global projects, with a particular focus on China and certain segments of the global agricultural sector. Mark was previously the head of the phosphate division of BHP Billiton, Southern Cross Fertilisers, playing a leading role in restructuring its operations to improve its profitability. He has also held several roles within the mining giant at the Vice President level responsible for significant business change initiatives.

Mark Irwin said he looked forward to working with the Board and management team to build on GrainCorp’s record of achievement through further growth across our agribusiness supply chain activities.

“There are a number of significant opportunities emerging, particularly with the forthcoming market changes for wheat, which will enable the company to grow new earnings. The global strength in soft commodities is generating a lot of interest and investment in the sector, and we need to review the opportunities for GrainCorp to tap into this interest and turn it into further gains for shareholders, customers and employees," he said.

The Board of Directors has expressed its thanks to retiring MD Tom Keene for his 42 years of dedicated service to the company and the industry generally.

“He has made a very significant contribution to GrainCorp over the last 14 years as managing director and chief executive officer. He will be missed by his colleagues and we wish him well for the future." Mr Taylor said.

"I am proud of the contribution I have made to GrainCorp’s development as a leading agribusiness. I am comfortable in the knowledge that I am handing over a company that is well positioned for future growth." Mr Keene said.

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