Iconic New Zealand rural group Federated Farmers has appointed an Australian as its new chief executive.
Graham Smith will take up the role in July, Federated Farmers announced today.
Smith has lived in New Zealand since 2001 and has held the positions of CEO of Crown Research Institute ESR (Institute of Environmental Science & Research) for almost three years. Most recently he was chief executive of Soda Inc, which facilitates new technologies, including agri-tech and company start-ups.
Smith replaces Conor English who has been in the job for the last six years.
"Federated Farmers is thrilled to announce Graham Smith's appointment to lead the federation in its next phase of growth," Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills said.
"Graham understands the strategic context Federated Farmers operates in and is no stranger to the primary industries, having been a former general manager at AgResearch.
"The board is especially impressed by Graham's commercial and people-leadership skills as well as his background in science and innovation. He has managed an international technology commercialisation organisation and worked for several overseas food companies."
Smith holds an MBA from the University of South Australia and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Adelaide.
Wills thanked English for a "highly successful six years" in the role.
"Federated Farmers and the agriculture sector owe him a huge debt of gratitude and we wish him all the best for the future," Wills said.
"Graham is a worthy successor and he will work closely with the new Federated Farmers board to continue the invaluable work we do for New Zealand's farmers and the wider economy."