WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — Simon Stead and Natalie Browning have joined CBH’s board as chair and deputy chair, respectively.

Stead replaces Wally Newman, who has been chair since 2014. Browning replaces Stead, who was named deputy chair in April 2019.

Stead joined the CBH Board as a member director in February 2015. He runs a mixed cropping, cattle and sheep operation in Cascade and Dalyup in the Esperance Zone. He has an executive certificate in agribusiness marketing from Monash University and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Stead said he was proud and humbled to be named chair.

“The co-operative continues to be the best model for Western Australian growers to get their grain to critical export markets at the lowest cost and through a world class grain supply chain," Stead said. “My strongest focus, as well as that of the board is on the core of the business — our supply chain of storage, handling, marketing and trading — as we build the network to serve growers needs into the future.

“As an organization and as part of the wider industry, we must continue to work together, and move forward in progressing our industry and making sure we can continue to compete strongly in the international grain market.

“To do this we must remain connected to markets and understand their changing requirements.

“This commitment to our core operations will continue, and so will our purpose of creating and returning value to Western Australians growers, now and into the future.”

Browning, a former member of the Growers’ Advisory Council, joined the CBH board as a member director in February 2018 and now takes on the role of deputy chair of the board.

She runs a continuous cropping operation on her property in Kondinin and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Stead thanked Newman for his tireless work in advancing the interests of Western Australian growers and CBH during his 20 years on the board, especially his last six years as chair.

“He has provided strong leadership of the board and the business, through the management team, during his tenure,” Stead said. “Of note he led the business during the AGC bid and subsequent Structural and Governance Review, was instrumental in introducing the Grower Patronage Rebates Program and was pivotal in investing in above rail efficiencies.

“Wally leaves a legacy that will be impossible to replicate, and Western Australian growers are forever in his debt.”

Stead also acknowledged the current unprecedented situation stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

“I would like to assure all growers the CBH Board, management and employees are united and working tirelessly to navigate the cooperative through this situation,” Stead said. “We are doing everything we can to minimize the spread of the virus, protect our people and play our part in protecting our communities, while also seeking to continue safely operating the supply chain.

“Our business activities, including those of your board, have transitioned smoothly at this stage. We are also working proactively with government and industry stakeholders to advocate for the agriculture sector and minimize any potential impact.”