WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — After 12 years on the CBH Group board, Chairman Neil Wandel has announced on April 2 his intention to retire as a director at the end of his term in February 2015 but will remain at the helm until August this year as part of a planned leadership transition.

Wally Newman has been appointed deputy chairman and chairman-elect, and will become chairman from mid-August.

Wandel congratulated Newman on his appointment, saying he looked forward to again working with him over the coming months to achieve a smooth transition.

"Wally has been a CBH director since 2000 and served as deputy chairman of the CBH Group from 2008 to 2012.  He has been a dedicated director who is known for his passion for driving decisions that truly represent value to our growers,” he said. "Wally brings an excellent understanding of grower issues to the board room. He has always demonstrated a deep commitment to representing Western Australian growers."

CBH Group Chairman-Elect Wally Newman acknowledged the contribution Wandel had made as a director and chairman to the CBH Group.

“Neil has served as chairman of the CBH Group board since 2008 and as a director since 2002, joining the board following the merger with the Grain Pool of WA.  Neil and I have worked closely together for many years now and I have enjoyed that time both professionally and personally,” said Newman. "We worked together during the time CBH was determining its structure and we achieved 96% support to move to the new Co-operatives Act, extending CBH’s reach along the supply chain through its investment in our South East Asian flour milling business, and by ensuring the co-operative was ready to take a premier position in a deregulated Australian export grain market. We were able to do that and today stand as Australia’s largest exporter of grain.”

As chairman, Wandel led the board during the historic A$175 million investment in rail rolling stock, which saw a 7% reduction in freight rates to growers in its first year of operation.

In this time, the board delivered a rebate program to growers, held receival fees flat to growers for four years out of five and committed to a base annual capital expenditure of A$85 million to ensure Western Australian growers have access to the most efficient storage and handling network in Australia.

Wandel will focus on working with Newman in the coming months to facilitate a smooth transition with growers, domestic and international customers, government and industry.

Newman runs an extensive cropping operation in Newdegate. He is chairman of the board’s Communication Committee, a member of the Remuneration and Nomination Committee and a Commissioner of PT Eastern Pearl Flour Mills, Indonesia. 

He is a director of several private companies, a member of the International Agricultural Exchange Association and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  He is an active member of his local community with more than 25 years’ experience as a councillor of the Lake Grace Shire and was the instigator of the popular Newdegate Field Days.