Hunt is on for a new GRDC boss

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Grains Research Development Corporation's outgoing managing director Steve Jeffries with GRDC chair John Woods.
Camera IconGrains Research Development Corporation's outgoing managing director Steve Jeffries with GRDC chair John Woods. Credit: Nicole Baxter

Australia’s biggest grains research organisation is on the hunt for a new leader to replace Steve Jefferies, who is leaving Grains Research Development Corporation after four years.

GRDC managing director Dr Jefferies announced last month he planned to leave the organisation by the middle of next year as he transitioned into retirement.

GRDC plans to look internationally and domestically for a successor.

In his four years in the role, Dr Jefferies helped set up four regional GRDC offices, spearheaded an ambitious overhaul of the GRDC, and launched its five-year strategic plan.

Originally from South Australia, Dr Jefferies joined GRDC in July 2016 from Adelaide-based Australian Grain Technologies.

He travelled to WA several times a year for announcements, engaging with stakeholders and attending forums.

In WA, GRDC recently appointed its acting boss into the role.

GRDC’s WA National Variety Trial manager Peter Bird, pictured, has been serving as GRDC’s WA acting senior regional manager since July.

He took on the acting role for the top WA GRDC position when his predecessor Charlie Thorn retired.

After nearly four months in the acting role, Mr Bird was officially appointed on a permanent basis in October.

Mr Bird, one of 13 staff working at GRDC’s Perth office in Bentley, said he was excited to take on the permanent position.

GRDC senior regional manager - west Peter Bird at Kojonup.
Camera IconGRDC senior regional manager - west Peter Bird at Kojonup. Credit: Rowan Maddern

His role involves overseeing the WA GRDC office and its operations, to “ensure the effective delivery of short-term local research, development and extension”.

This includes supporting the GRDC western region panel and working closely with different business groups within GRDC, and working as a link between the GRDC’s southern, northern and Canberra offices.

“I’m excited to take up the role and to contribute to the strong GRDC team, in WA and across Australia, which is working to achieve tangible results on behalf of our grower levy payers,” Mr Bird said.

“The GRDC’s purpose is to invest in research, development and extension (RD&E) to create enduring profitability for Australian growers. I’ll be actively strengthening and fostering relationships with the GRDC’s research partners, and the broader grains industry in WA.”

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