Annual General Meeting today (27 November), voting members elected three new directors to the Hort Innovation Board. Directly following the AGM, the newly constituted Board met to appoint the positions of Hort Innovation Chair and Deputy Chair.
The new Directors elected by members included:
- Tony Kelly. Mr Kelly is backed by some 33 years of experience in the horticulture sector, working across exporting, importing, wholesaling, transportation, distribution and logistics. He has extensive experience as a board director, including as Deputy Chair of Brisbane Markets Limited.
- Michael Nixon. Mr Nixon grew up in agriculture, and is one of the largest horticulture growers in the Carnarvon area of Western Australia. He’s held board positions within horticulture industry bodies, and is heavily involved in horticulture initiatives and organisations at the community level.
- Victoria Taylor. Ms Taylor has more than two decades of experience in agricultural policy, governance and communications. She’s an experienced board member, the former executive officer of the National Horticulture Research Network, and also a small business owner.
Taking over from former Chair Selwyn Snell, who announced his retirement earlier this year, will be new Chair Julie Bird. Ms Bird has been a Director of Hort Innovation since 2018. She has worked in various roles across the horticulture sector for the past 25 years, including in director and executive positions within a number of horticulture and agriculture-related organisations.
Hort Innovation’s new Deputy Chair is Paul Harker, who has been a Director of the company since 2016, having been re-elected by members at last year’s AGM. Mr Harker has more than 20 years of experience in retail, and is the current Director of Buying and Group Replenishment at Woolworths.
Hort Innovation CEO Matt Brand congratulated the new Directors, Chair and Deputy Chair, noting that together they bring a diverse set of expertise, experience and skills to the Board.
“We had an extremely high calibre of skills in our Director nominees this year. We are privileged to have such a skilled range of people from diverse backgrounds keen to share their knowledge, expertise and acumen with us to help us deliver on Hort Innovation’s strategy.
“As Australia’s research and development corporation for the $14.4 billion horticulture sector, we must adapt to the changing landscape, embrace new technology, and develop new ideas. Our new Board members will help to shape and guide our vision into the future.”
Mr Brand also thanked outgoing Chair Mr Snell, outgoing Deputy Chair Dr Mary Corbett and outgoing Director Jenny Margetts for their hard work, commitment and contributions to Hort Innovation and the horticulture sector.
“Selwyn has been with Hort Innovation since its inception, and with the company’s previous iteration before that. He has a lot to be proud of, including his work to establish our Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative. On a personal note, I thank him for all of his guidance and support.
“Likewise, thank you to Dr Corbett, who has served on a number of Board subcommittees and demonstrated great leadership during her three years with the company. Finally, thank you to Jenny Margetts, who has been with Hort Innovation since 2016 and contributed a wealth of knowledge and experience to help the company and our stakeholders succeed.”
During his farewell address at the AGM, Mr Snell reflected on the importance of collaboration across the horticulture sector. “It’s a simple and undeniable fact that we’re stronger working together,” he told meeting attendees, referencing a “rich network” made up of individual horticulture industries, Hort Innovation, horticulture representative bodies and groups, delivery partners, government agencies, the wider agriculture sector and more.
“As I leave the company today, my biggest hope is that a spirit of unity – and a recognition of how critical it is to horticulture’s success – remains at the forefront,” Mr Snell said.
In October, changes were made to the way Directors are appointed at an Extraordinary General Meeting called by Hort Innovation members. This saw all three Directors elected by company members today, rather than the previous mix of Directors elected by members and appointed by the Board itself.