News Article

New Independent Chairperson appointed to Food & Fibre Gippsland Board

   Sunday 11th August, 2019

The Board of Food & Fibre Gippsland is pleased to announce the appointment of Joanne Butterworth-Gray to the role of Independent Chairperson.

Ms Butterworth-Gray replaces Independent Chair, Peter Schultz from Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) who had been acting in an advisory capacity throughout the amalgamation of the East Gippsland Food Cluster (EGFC) and Agribusiness Gippsland to form Food & Fibre Gippsland.

Ms Butterworth-Gray has extensive experience in agribusiness across Gippsland, through primary and secondary production, value-adding and tourism.

Delighted to be joining the industry body, Joanne brings a wealth of knowledge to the organisation, along with a deep understanding of agribusiness and regional communities, strong leadership and sound corporate governance experience.

“I believe in, and have commitment to supporting the long-term prosperity of the food and fibre sector within Gippsland”

“There are some ambitious growth targets to achieve as the sector evolves to be one of the key economic engines of Victoria “

"With an enthusiastic board and a talented operations team, I am confident that, on the back of an already impressive list of achievements, there will continue to be significant wins for Food & Fibre Gippsland that drive benefit into the region’s businesses and communities “she concluded.

With a commercial acumen honed early in her career, Joanne tested traditional farming approaches with an innovative, fast turnover model, geared to the market opportunity. This evolved into a customer-focussed agribusiness, delivering commercial outcomes through value adding, developing her skills and contribution to strategic partnerships and regional collaboration.

As the first female CEO of the Victorian Wine Industry, Joanne successfully transformed the industry, navigating three tiers of government and several thousand commercial entities.

Through working with industry, she applied a vertically integrated model to government partnerships, including the policy setters, the deciders and the funders that delivered outcomes for both the product and the bigger picture of ongoing regional development.

Food & Fibre CEO Paul Griffin, who stepped into his role in mid-July joined the board in welcoming the new chair.

“Joanne is passionate about regional development and collaboration and with over two decades of board level experience, she brings an extensive array of skills in stakeholder engagement and governance, a sharp commercial focus, and the ability to effect and leverage change “

Deputy Chair Andrew Bulmer has had a long history as an EGFC board member and sees Ms Butterworth-Gray’s appointment as the final piece of a long-term strategic plan to bring Gippsland’s food & fibre sector together as one.

“With her passion for transformation, experience in agribusiness and proven ability to navigate multiple tiers of government and stakeholders, Joanne was a standout choice for the chairperson role”

“Together with my fellow board members, we welcome Joanne to the Food & Fibre Gippsland team, and we’re looking forward to driving great outcomes for the prosperity of the sector and the region” he said.