Madden decides to step down after 12-year tenure

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
CBH director Rod Madden with his dog "Ringer".
Camera IconCBH director Rod Madden with his dog "Ringer". Credit: Claire Tyrrell.

There will be at least one shake up to the CBH board next year with Morawa farmer Rod Madden stepping aside from his role after 12 non-consecutive years.

Mr Madden revealed this week he planned to see out his tenure as a District 1 member director but would not be re-electing when the grower polls opened in January.

He said was “very slowly” transitioning into retirement and was looking forward to spending more time with his four grandchildren, and travelling.

“Twelve years is a long time for anybody to be on a board... it is almost a transition into retirement for me,” Mr Madden said.

“I have four little grandchildren, and I want to see more of those, and travel.

“I thought long and hard about not renominating at the last round, but there was a lot of unfinished business that I hadn’t achieved.”

Mr Madden was due for re-election by rotation in January, at the end of his three-year term.

He won the 2017 election in a landslide victory, reeling 234 votes against Northampton’s Bradley Cripps, with 110 votes, and Walkaway’s Gareth Rowe, with 58 votes.

The District 1 election is one of five member director election districts, with nine member directors and three independent directors making up the board.

District 2 member director Vern Dempster is also up for re-election in January, as well as District 4 member director and chairman Wally Newman.

Mr Madden said the decision was entirely his, and joked that if anyone was pushing for him to leave the board, it was his wife Lorraine.

Mr Madden said he felt he had helped to “cement in concrete” a believe amongst members that the cooperative model worked best for CBH.

He also said he had tried his best to encourage CBH to carefully consider investments which deviated away from its core business — listing battling flour miller InterFlour and CBH’s part-owned Newcastle Agri Terminal, a port facility in New South Wales, as two areas of concern.

“The recognition that cooperatives are really important, I wanted to make sure that was embedded down,” Mr Madden said.

“And the policy on investments, the importance to have good policy and be diligent about every investment individually and wholistically.

“When things aren’t going right, you have to exit them... if they are not returning value to the growers then you should not be involved.

“CBH’s core business is storage, handling, marketing and the logistics.”

When asked what his highlights during his board tenure were, Mr Madden said the answer was simple.

“Cementing in concrete the understanding in membership that the cooperative structure is the best structure for CBH... that was a highlight,” he said.

“We also now have pretty good policies and a good governance structure in place at CBH.”

During the past five years, Mr Madden has gradually stepped back from his boardroom positions, which included roles at United Bulk Carriers, United Farmers Cooperative, Cooperative Federation of WA, and North East Farming Futures.

He also retired from the board of Australia’s biggest lamb and mutton co-operative WA Meat Marketing Authority Cooperative in 2015 to focus on his role at CBH.

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