SRA welcomes Mr Lee Blackburn and Dr Jeremy Burdon to Board of Directors

Date Posted

24 October, 2019

Posted by

Cathy Weis

Sugar Research Australia (SRA) has announced the appointment of two new Board Directors and the re-election of one current Director at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) today in Brisbane.

Mr Lee Blackburn and Dr Jeremy Burdon have joined the Board alongside existing Directors Dr Ron Swindells (Chairman), Ms Lindy Hyam, Dr Guy Roth, Mr Peter Russo and Mr Sam Bonanno.

Ms Lindy Hyam was re-elected to the Board at the AGM.

The Board recommendations were made by an independent Director Selection Committee (DSC), which was led by Chair Ms Kathryn Adams and included sugarcane milling representatives Mr Shunjie Guo (Tully Sugar / COFCO), Mr Stewart Norton (formerly MSF Sugar), and Mr Andrew Capello (Mackay Sugar, replacing Mr Guo after he resigned from the DSC for family reasons). The committee also included sugarcane growing representatives Mr Paul Schembri and Mr Allan Dingle. The recommendations of the DSC were accepted by SRA Members at the SRA AGM.

Dr Jeremy Burdon has an international reputation as both a scientist and a research manager and strategic planner, including being Chief of CSIRO Plant Industry from 2003-2012.

He has also served on the Board of Trustees of Bioversity International, on the Board of the Grains Research & Development Corporation (2011-2017), and as the Chair of the Australian Academy of Science’s National Committee for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Currently, he serves on the Board of the Cotton Research & Development Corporation.

He has been a member of the SRA Research Funding Panel and is familiar to the Australian sugarcane industry through his role as a Director of the CRC for Sugar Industry Innovation through Biotechnology.

New Director Mr Lee Blackburn is a sugarcane grower at Mackay and also has extensive milling experience through his position on the Mackay Sugar Board.

He is also chair of the Eton Irrigation Scheme, and a Director of Queensland Commodity Services, Mackay Area Productivity Services and the Kinchant Dam Water Users Association, adding to his 26 years of growing experience and 17 years running a harvesting business.

SRA Chairman Dr Ron Swindells welcomed Mr Blackburn and Dr Burdon to the Board.

“Both of our new Directors bring specific and valuable expertise to the Board and they will assist SRA to continue to deliver productivity, profitability and sustainability outcomes for growers and millers,” Dr Swindells said.

Dr Swindells also thanked outgoing Directors Dr Helen Garnett and Mr Steve Guazzo, both of whom had been on the SRA Board since its formation in 2013.

“Helen Garnett has brought extensive international scientific and corporate experience to the Board, including valuable insights into the RD&E world in other agricultural industries such as grains and grapes and wine,” Dr Swindells said. “She has also served on the People, Performance and Remuneration Committee and the Audit and Risk Committee, including as Chair.”

“Steve Guazzo has brought valuable experience in sugarcane growing and harvesting experience to the Board and helped ensure that SRA continues to deliver value to our investors. He has also chaired the People, Performance and Remuneration Committee since inception.”

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