Australian Wool Innovation CEO sidelined into new international position

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Bob GarnantCountryman
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Stuart McCullough will step down from his role as AWI CEO to take up a new position as chief marketing and innovative officer.
Camera IconStuart McCullough will step down from his role as AWI CEO to take up a new position as chief marketing and innovative officer. Credit: Bob Garnant

Australian Wool Innovation chief executive Stuart McCullough has been sidelined into a new role as chief marketing and innovation officer, effective immediately, with current chief operating officer John Roberts stepping in as acting CEO.

The executive shuffle announced today was aimed at addressing the industry’s greatest challenges and opportunities for wool’s growth as the world comes out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his new role, Mr McCullough — who will eventually be based overseas — will be weighing in on the European labelling laws that could severely disadvantage the fibre.

AWI chairman Jock Laurie said the board had identified a clear need for an international role dedicated to the critical issues facing the industry.

“If you look at the factors that are going to define the success of the wool industry for all growers in the decades to come, many of them are international,” he said.

“We need to address issues across the world supply chain, from processing concentration to ever-changing retail and consumers trends.”

Mr Laurie saidAWI would work to resist damaging changes to European Union labelling laws that would fail to recognise wool’s natural, sustainable and renewable benefits.

“There is no one with a better skill-set and experience than Stuart,” he said.

“It was logical to free Stuart from his other responsibilities as CEO to enable him to devote his time to fighting for woolgrowers on the world stage.”

Mr McCullough has more than 35 years of experience in the wool industry, including 20 years with AWI and nearly 12 years as CEO.

“During my time as CEO, the critical issues for the success of our industry have become clear,” he said.

“While AWI will always support growers on-farm and through its local research and development initiatives, it is the big macro international trends that will have the most significant impact on the industry over the long term.

“I am delighted to take on this new role.”

Newly appointed AWI chief executive John Roberts.
Camera IconNewly appointed AWI chief executive John Roberts. Credit: Australian Wool Innovation

Mr Roberts said he was pleased to be named acting CEO and would put himself forward as a candidate to take on the role on a permanent basis.

He comes from a wool-producing family at Binalong in NSW and has more than 30 years of experience in the wool industry.

Mr Roberts was appointed AWI chier foeprating officer in October, 2020.

Mr Laurie said the AWI board would conduct a rigorous process to identify a permanent CEO from internal and external candidates, with a view of making an announcement early next year.

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