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2006 Rabobank Leadership Award Winner

Australian Agribusiness Industry Veteran Receives 2006 Rabobank Leadership Award

John Watson AM, Chairman of agricultural fertiliser giant Incitec Pivot Limited, has been named the inaugural recipient of a prestigious new business honour, the Rabobank Leadership Award.

Mr Watson was presented with the award in front of industry peers at the third annual Rabobank Leadership Dinner in Sydney last night.

Presenting the award, Rabobank Australia & New Zealand CEO Bruce Dick said Mr Watson was being recognised for his outstanding achievements in Australasia’s vitally important food and agribusiness sector.

“Few have contributed so much to Australia’s food and agribusiness sector in such a range of roles and industries,” Mr Dick said.

A former Victorian dairy farmer, Mr Watson took on chairmanship of then-struggling agricultural fertiliser co-op Pivot in 1998, embarking on a dramatic rehabilitation and merger which has seen the company transformed into its position today as the ASX-listed Incitec Pivot.

Today, Incitec Pivot supplies more than 50 per cent of Australia’s agricultural plant nutrient needs and has sales revenue in excess of $1 billion a year.

Mr Dick said the award also recognised John Watson’s wider contribution to furthering the interests of Australia’s crucial food and agribusiness industries.

Mr Watson is a former deputy president of the National Farmers Federation and was a leading figure in the successful deregulation of the country’s dairy industry.

In 2004, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the agricultural and food production sectors.

Mr Watson is currently also chairman of Primesafe, the statutory authority responsible for safety regulation within the meat, poultry and seafood industries in Victoria, and the Co-operative Research Centre for Innovative Dairy Products. Mr Watson is a director of Tassal Group Limited, Australia's largest producer and exporter of Atlantic salmon, and Rural Press Limited. He also sits on a number of industry bodies.

“John Watson is universally recognised as a strong, but fair, leader who will do the tough things. He has remained clear and persistent under pressure, is a great team player and relates well to people at every level,” Mr Dick said.

The peer-nominated and peer-judged Rabobank Leadership Award has been established by the bank to recognise outstanding leadership in Australia and New Zealand’s food and agribusiness industries.

“At a time when the food and agribusiness sector is as dynamic and volatile as it has been at any point during the past decade, strong, quality leadership has never been more important,” Mr Dick said.

Mr Watson accepted the award at the dinner held at the Art Gallery of NSW. Guests included the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Mark Vaile. Special guest speaker, McDonald’s President Greater China, Guy Russo gave the keynote address, speaking about the experience of growing the McDonald’s business in China.

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand is a part of the international Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 100 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank has a AAA credit rating and, in recent years, has twice been awarded the title of the world’s safest bank by Global Finance magazine. Rabobank operates in 38 countries, servicing the needs of more than nine million clients worldwide through a network of more than 1500 offices and branches. Rabobank Australia & New Zealand is one of Australasia’s leading rural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the region’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 75 branches throughout Australasia.


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