MLA stakes future on former European-based executive

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Meat and Livestock Australia managing director Jason Strong.
Camera IconMeat and Livestock Australia managing director Jason Strong. Credit: MLA

Meat and Livestock Australia has ended a four-month search for a new managing director, appointing Smithfield Cattle Co boss Jason Strong to the role.

It is a homecoming of sorts for Mr Strong, who previously worked at MLA as its regional manager in Europe and Russia.

He replaces former managing director Richard Norton, who took up a senior position with Elders late last year.

Mr Strong said it was an exciting time to be returning to MLA, with many opportunities for the red meat industry. He will start his new role on April 1.

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“I am looking forward to working with MLA’s board, staff, red meat producers and the broader industry to make certain we are best positioned to respond to the challenges and opportunities ahead,” Mr Strong said.

“I want to ensure MLA’s current programs and projects continue to deliver value, but also identify and implement what is required for the future success of the red meat industry.”

Mr Strong’s role at Smithfield Cattle Co will be filled by Andrew Shearer-Smith, who was appointed chief executive of the Smithfield group of companies.

MLA’s managing director position had been filled by MLA chief financial officer Andrew Ferguson for the past four months.

MLA chair Michele Allan said the MLA board unanimously supported Mr Strong’s appointment, saying it felt “extremely confident” in his capabilities.

“The MLA board is extremely confident Jason will make an outstanding contribution and continue to foster the prosperity of our industry on behalf of the red meat producers we serve,” she said.

“He returns to MLA with comprehensive red meat and livestock experience, knowledge and connections — from the farm through to the end consumer — in both domestic and international markets.” Dr Allan said Mr Strong was a well-recognised and respected senior executive with extensive skills in commercial and industry business management and administration, supply chain development, meat science and grading, genetics and marketing

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