Five vie for AWI board positions

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) confirmed last week there will be five candidates for three vacancies for the position of director at the elections to be held at the AWI annual general meeting in Sydney on Friday, November 18.

The candidates include incumbents Brian van Rooyen and WA woolgrower David Webster, AWI-nominated Pacific Brands Underwear Group general manager Colette Garnsey and two woolgrowers from New South Wales, Robert McBride and Alix Turner.

Mr van Rooyen is an AWI director and member of the finance and audit committee, remuneration and appointments committee and science and welfare committee.

He is also director of Australian Country Spinners and other various Australian and international entities.

Mr Webster is an AWI director, chairman of the AWI finance and audit committee and member of the remuneration and appointments committee, a director of Australian Wool Testing Authority (AWTA) and of various other Australian entities.

Ms Garnsey is a group general manager of the Pacific Brands Underwear Group and former group general manager of merchandise at David Jones.

Mr McBride is a woolgrower, director of AJ & PA McBride and owner of Tolarno, Peppora and Wyoming stations in NSW.

Mr Turner is a woolgrower and a former director of various industry bodies including Woolgrowers Independent Selling Services (WISS), Australian Wool Enhancers (AWE) and WoolProducers Australia (WPA).

Narrogin woolgrower and mechanical wool handling inventor Alistair McDougall said he backed Mr Turner as the man who could spin the wheel.

"It is a time of evolution," Mr McDougall said in his endorsement of Mr Turner.

"We need to change from a supply-driven industry to a more consumer and processor orientated network, as is the platform for Mr Turner," he said.

Mr McDougall said a third of the required 100 nomination votes for Mr Turner came from WA AWI levy payers.

Mr Turner may be known among growers for his recent involvement in agri-politics as a former director of WoolProducers but he said his highest achievement so far was elsewhere.

"I was instrumental in persuading the purchasing manager of German-based spinner Sud Wolle, Goetz Giebel, to endorse the adoption of the radical Objective Clip Preparation in 2008," he said.

"This was a win for both Australian producers and overseas processors."

The Upper Lachlan wool producer said that as an AWI board candidate he felt there needed to be further development of a fully consumer orientated supply chain.

"Improved communication and co-ordination is desperately needed," Mr Turner said.

Each of the candidates has been assessed by the AWI board nomination committee which will present a report to the board for inclusion in the annual general meeting pack to be sent to shareholders this month.

Board nomination committee chairman Jock Laurie said the committee had completed its assessment of all candidates for election.

"The information provided in the report of the committee is intended to assist shareholders to identify those candidates who can bring valued skills to the AWI board in the areas in which additional skills are most required at this time," he said.

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