WAFarmers boss walks

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
WAFarmers chief executive Peter Nolin has resigned.
Camera IconWAFarmers chief executive Peter Nolin has resigned. Credit: Bob Garnant/The Countryman.

Badgingarra farmer Dale Park will fill the breach as WAFarmers chief executive for the foreseeable future after the shock resignation of the man anointed to lead the cash-strapped lobby group into a new era.

Mr Park, WAFarmers president, said there were no plans to advertise for a new chief executive as the 102-year-old organisation prepared for the biggest shake-up in its history in the wake of heavy financial losses.

Gage Roads Brewing Company founder Peter Nolin quit last week just months after taking the job as chief executive.

Mr Nolin's appointment at the end of January came after Andy McMillan stood down in November and the man set to replace him, Trevor Lovell, quit to become chief executive at Aged and Community Services WA.

Mr Park said WAFarmers had pinned its hopes on Mr Nolin helping it become a "bigger and better" organisation and was disappointed by his departure.

The WAFarmers board met yesterday to discuss its options, including reorganising operations as part of a raft of cost-cutting measures.

"We are looking at how we change what we do in the office, taking into consideration where we are financially," Mr Park said.

"We'll take a breath and assess the skills we have on staff but we've had enough job losses."

WAFarmers will leave its Burs- wood headquarters when the lease expires in September. It has drawn up a list of cheaper options and will look at sites next week.

WAFarmers recorded a loss of $283,060 in the 12 months to November, following a loss of $102,974 in 2012.

Mr Park has warned that it is unsustainable to rely on membership fees to fund operations.

WAFarmers is looking at new funding models as part of a major overhaul, which includes a recharge, reconnect review by intellectual property management and strategy specialist Wrays.

It is considering ways to capture exclusive benefits for members, increased sponsorship and running pay-as-you-go workshops and seminars for farmers.

"We are too dependent on membership and we are getting less farmers (as members)," Mr Park said. "We have probably been trying to do far too much and will start prioritising what we do and don't do."

Mr Park said WAFarmers was advertising for a new grains and commodities policy officer but would carry on without a chief executive. "We'll look at options about what we might do in the future and probably come to the realisation that we do need to a CEO," he said.

Mr Park said acting in the role on top of running his farm and his workload as president was a daunting prospect.

Mr Nolin did not return calls from _WestBusiness _yesterday but it is understood he resigned to take up a job with an accountancy firm.

WAFarmers has an annual budget of about $1.8 million and relies on membership fees for about 60 per cent of its income.

'We'll take a breath and assess the skills we have on staff but we've had enough job losses.'" WAFarmers president *Dale Park *

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