SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — GrainGrowers, an independent grain farmer representative organization with 17,500 members across Australia, has promoted Michael Southan and David McKeon as co-chief executive officers. Southan and McKeon succeed Alicia Garden, who departed the company last fall.
A veteran with more than 20 years of experience as a researcher in grain quality and grain-food processing, Southan most recently was general manager of industry development at GrainGrowers. Earlier, he worked with CSIRO and BRI in Australia, and has held past positions as deputy chair of the Grains Research and Development Corp.’s (GRDC) southern panel and as a member of the GRDC northern panel. He is a member of the Australian Wheat Variety Classification Panel, the Grain Trade Australia Standards Committee, and the advisory committee for the Advanced Technologies in Food Manufacture training center at the University of NSW.
McKeon has extensive experience in farm management, agricultural policy and industry leadership. He most recently was general manager of policy and innovation at GrainGrowers. Before joining the company he was manager of rural affairs at the National Farmers’ Federation, and early played a key role within the Federal Department of Agriculture on a variety of national policy issues. McKeon is a member of several groups, including the National Farmers’ Federation policy committee, Grain Trade Australia technical committees and the ACCC Agricultural Consultative Committee.“Having joint CEOs will allow GrainGrowers to accomplish more by delegating different roles to each head,” said John Eastburn, chairman of GrainGrowers. “It will provide increased scope and broader capacity for the organization to achieve its goal of bringing about a more efficient, sustainable and profitable grain production sector that benefits all Australian grain farmers and the wider grains industry. Both CEOs share high trust and communication with each other and I have every confidence their combination of skills and expertise will lead the business into the next phase of its growth strategy for the benefit of grain growers and the industry.”