Elders taking steps to rebuild board

Elders has found reinforcements for its two-man board, news paves the way for a new chief executive.

Elders has found reinforcements for its two-man board that chairman Mark Allison said would pave the way for the company to appoint a new chief executive.

NSW cattle farmer and former SG Warburg investment banker James Jackson and Allied Mills chief financial officer Ian Wilton joined the Elders board yesterday, doubling the number of directors at the company as it looks to rebuild its fortunes.

Elders had been operating with a skeleton board with Allison doubling as chief executive and former DuPont Australia chief executive Hutch Ranck the only other director since last month when Josephine Rozman resigned.

John Ballard retired as chairman last year and chief executive Malcolm Jackman departed in November, while long-term director Ian Macdonald retired in November 2012. The company had been expected to appoint a new chief executive by the end of March but that was before Ms Rozman quit the board.

Allison said the two new directors brought extensive experience in agriculture and strong financial management skills to the Elders board.

“James’ and Ian’s combined skill set is of high relevance to the Elders as we drive operational performance and effective capital management to succeed as a pure agribusiness,’’ Allison said.

Jackson was a senior vice-president at SG Warburg -- one of the predecessors of investment bank UBS -- and was a director of MSF Sugar from 2004, including chairman from 2008-12.

He owns a beef cattle enterprise in northern NSW.

Wilton has been chief financial officer of GrainCorp, CSR’s sugar division and Ridley Corp and was chief executive of GrainCorp Malt. He is CFO of Allied Mills, a joint venture between GrainCorp and US-based global agribusiness giant Cargill.