Fresh eyes for new leader

Grow­com CEO keen to learn in­dus­try’s ropes

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - News - AN­DREA DAVY An­drea.davy@ru­ral­


my mind you need to have a gen­uine re­spect for peo­ple, you won’t gain re­spect un­less you give re­spect. — David Thom­son

DAVID Thom­son will walk into the job as Grow­com chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer as a man with no “bag­gage” or “pre-con­ceived ideas” about the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try.

While he has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in se­nior roles across the pri­vate and public sec­tors, he freely ad­mit­ted he had no back­ground within agri­cul­ture.

“I am go­ing to spend the first 100 days or so meet­ing all the play­ers and learn­ing from their points of view, I am com­ing into this with no pre-con­ceived views,” he said.

“I am go­ing to start with meet­ing the mem­bers of Grow­com, and then prob­a­bly go to the peo­ple who are in the in­dus­try, but are not mem­bers of Grow­com, so I can un­der­stand why not.”

Based in Bris­bane, Mr Thom­son spent 30 years work­ing in the steel in­dus­try, at one point in time for min­ing gi­ant BHP, within the dis­tri­bu­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor.

For the last decade, how­ever, he ran Strad­broke Fer­ries – the com­pany that trans­ports thou­sands of peo­ple from Bris­bane to More­ton Bay is­lands.

He summed up his lead­er­ship style with three key meth­ods: re­spect, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and seek­ing to find agreed or shared goals.

“In my mind you need to have a gen­uine re­spect for peo­ple, you won’t gain re­spect un­less you give re­spect – that’s one of the cor­ner­stones of my lead­er­ship style,” he said.

“You have to make sure you don’t suf­fer from se­lec­tive hear­ing, you have to lis­ten to peo­ple.”

Mr Thom­son was quick to note the po­ten­tial growth he saw for hor­ti­cul­ture.

“I can see an enor­mous po­ten­tial for agri­cul­ture and hor­ti­cul­ture in Queens­land,” he said.

“It’s a very ex­cit­ing in­dus­try, I think all lev­els of gov­ern­ment see it as the cor­ner­stone of the Aus­tralian econ­omy.”

Grow­com chair­man Les Wil­liams, a pineap­ple grower from Wa­mu­ran, said Mr Thom­son was a proven leader.

“David has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence across a num­ber of dis­ci­plines and the board is very con­fi­dent of his abil­ity to lead and di­rect Grow­com as a prof­itable grower rep­re­sen­ta­tive body work­ing to­wards the sus­tain­able fu­ture of the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try through ef­fec­tive ad­vo­cacy on be­half of grow­ers, ef­fec­tive grower en­gage­ment and the de­liv­ery of val­ued and rel­e­vant ser­vices to grow­ers,” Mr Wil­liams said.

“The board is very con­fi­dent about Grow­com’s fu­ture un­der David’s lead­er­ship.”

Mr Thom­son’s first of­fi­cial day starts on May 8.

There will be a smooth hand over with out­go­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Pat Han­nan, who fin­ishes up on May 18 and moves into re­tire­ment.


NEW BOSS: Grow­com chair­man Les Wil­liams wel­com­ing new Grow­com chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer David Thomson, who will start on May 8.

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