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AgResearch Chairman announces departure

AgResearch Chairman Rick Christie announces departure

Embargoed until 2pm, Wednesday 11 June

11 June, 2008

Rick Christie announced today that after two three-year terms as AgResearch Chairman he would step down from the role on June 30 to tackle his increased workload elsewhere.

“During my time as Chairman of AgResearch I have seen many changes. When I first took on the role, AgResearch was positioning itself as an international life sciences company with a reduced focus on research and development in pastoral agriculture.”

He said that while AgResearch still had an international orientation, it now had a renewed emphasis on undertaking R&D in NZ that benefited the whole pastoral sector from New Zealand farmers through to companies in the meat, dairy and textiles industries.

“Pastoral agriculture – that is, food and textiles - accounts for half of this country’s merchandise exports. Unprecedented global demand for high-quality, pastorally-derived foods will ensure that this continues and perhaps even increases in the foreseeable future,” he said.

Rick Christie said that under Chief Executive Dr Andrew West’s management AgResearch had not only improved its focuses but had also become an advocate for the role science could play in improving the living standards of all New Zealanders.

“Dr West has raised the bar in terms of the public profile of agricultural science in this country I believe the Government’s recently announced ‘Fast Forward Fund’ is evidence that AgResearch’s calls for increased investment in pastoral sector R&D over the last few years have been heeded.”

Graham Fraser, Deputy Chairman of AgResearch, said that Rick Christie had provided AgResearch strong governance and leadership during his tenure.

Rick Christie said that AgResearch’s renewed focus was underpinned by ‘2020 Science’, its vision for helping keep New Zealand prosperous to the year 2020 and beyond.

“I must pay credit to former Chief Science Strategist Dr Stephen Goldson for his work in developing this strategy and our recently appointed General Manager of Science Strategy, Dr Travis Glare. ‘2020 Science’ is an ambitious roadmap for creating sustainable wealth in New Zealand’s pastoral and biotechnology sectors.

“I believe that AgResearch is a well focussed research institute performing at the heart of this country’s economy. It is essential to New Zealand’s future and it must be given every encouragement by the Government,” said Mr Christie.


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