UNCERTAINTY is plaguing one of Australia's biggest pastoral houses, with Consolidated Pastoral Co (CPC) appointing an 'interim' CEO to replace outgoing boss Mark Irwin.
Mr Irwin, who was only in the job for 14 months after replacing industry veteran Ken Warriner, was axed last week, conceding to media he was stood down as part of a management restructure.
A statement from CPC said Mr Irwin had "decided to move on to pursue new challenges". CPC has also announced that Mr Irwin will stay with the company while it transitions to new boss, Fergal Leamy, the former CEO of an Irish-owned chilled convenience food business in the US and now a director of CPC's major shareholder, the London-based Terra Firma.
CPC chairman Mark Bahen said: "I would like to thank Mark for his contribution to the business during a period of significant change in the industry.
I am delighted to welcome Fergal to Consolidated Pastoral. He has an outstanding track record and I am sure will lead the company to even greater success."
Private equity firm Terra Firma bought CPC from James Packer in 2009 for $450 million but it has been plagued by restrictive Indonesian import quotas and poor prices due to the high Australian dollar.
CPC is Australia's largest live cattle exporter and one of its biggest landholders with 19 properties and about 360,000 head of cattle run on more than 5.7 million hectares.
Mr Irwin, the previous head of GrainCorp, said his departure was "cordial".
"I have just completed an important internal restructure and identified what needs to happen, including setting out a five-year plan," he said. "However, I have had a very heavy workload and, really, I just couldn't commit to the full five years."
It is believed another two directors, Tim Money and Karen Dolenec, have also left the company.
Reports are also circulating that management instability is also taking its toll on frontline staff across the company's cattle stations who remain deeply worried about the latest events, especially since the July departure of Ken Warriner's son Geoff, who was chief operating officer based at Carlton Hill Station in the Kimberley.
A CPC source said the chief operating officer position was still unfilled.
CPC was formed in 1983 with the purchase of Newcastle Waters Station, and some smaller Northern Territory holdings, from Ashburton Pastoral Company.
Under Ken Warriner's watch, strategically located properties were purchased in the NT, WA, and Queensland allowing CPC to access the South-East Asian live export trade, grass fed Jap Ox and the local domestic market.
Back to News Headlines