AWI shake-up as chair steps down from role

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - COLUMN -

WAL Mer­ri­man has stepped down as chair of Aus­tralian Wool In­no­va­tion.

The be­lea­guered chair­man an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion from the role he held for 10 years.

He will re­main on the board as a di­rec­tor.

AWI has ap­pointed deputy chair Co­lette Garnsey the new chair.

It comes after more than a year of scru­tiny on AWI and Mr Mer­ri­man, fol­low­ing a se­ries of pub­lic re­la­tions dis­as­ters, and con­cerns over his gov­er­nance and han­dling of proxy votes.

In Septem­ber last year, it was re­vealed Mr Mer­ri­man se­cretly viewed an in­dus­try con­sul­ta­tion through a one-way mir­ror, with­out the par­tic­i­pants knowl­edge.

He was later recorded telling an ABC jour­nal­ist to “f--off” when asked ques­tions on the is­sue.

In­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions found these in­ci­dents did not breach AWI’s code of con­duct.

How­ever, there was in­creas­ing pub­lic pres­sure for Mr Mer­ri­man to re­sign.

In a state­ment, Mr Mer­ri­man said he was proud to have led AWI in a time of record in­vest­ment in wool re­search and de­vel­op­ment, and a tripling in Aussie wool prices.

“Now is the time for new lead­er­ship to en­sure AWI con­tin­ues to de­liver for its most im­por­tant stake­hold­ers — the wool­grow­ers of Aus­tralia.”

PHOTO: FILE

STEP­PING DOWN: Wal Mer­ri­man has an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion as the AWI chair.

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