The directors of the Potatoes South Australia Incorporated Board of Management are:
Chief Executive Officer
Robbie has business experience in both the private and public sectors domestically and internationally, and at Board level as a Board member and reporting to a Board in the capacity of CEO. She is also a primary producer (beef cattle) in the upper south east of South Australia. She has an intimate understanding of agricultural production systems, particularly sustainable whole of industry value chains from the paddock to the end-consumer. Following almost ten years living and working in Southeast Asia (Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei), she was self-employed as an agribusiness consultant until her appointment as CEO in 2012. Robbie was awarded the RIRDC Rural Woman of the Year (SA) 2016.
Her key roles have been to develop stakeholder networks, and to develop and implement management and financial processes, and funding and Strategic Plans.
Qualifications: Bachelor of Agricultural Science, Master of Business Administration (University of Adelaide), Graduate Australian Institute of Company Directors
Andrew MacDonald PhD
Andrew is Chairman and Non-executive Director of ASX-listed Contango Income Generator (ASX:CIE) and Managing Director of Mieza Consulting a global management consulting business. He has over 30 years’ experience in financial and professional services. He is widely regarded as an expert in banking and finance with a particular emphasis on corporate banking, wealth management, corporate governance, risk management and the customer experience.
Andrew has held a number of senior roles in business development and consulting. He was Head of Sales Development – Australia for the National Australia Bank (NAB). Prior to joining NAB, Andrew was a Director of Business Development at Ernst & Young (E&Y). During his time at E&Y, Andrew was responsible for portfolio sales including corporate finance, taxation, audit, consulting and entrepreneurial services.
Andrew holds a Ph.D. in Macroeconomics/International Political Economy (University of Melbourne), Bachelor of Arts, Hons (Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia). He also holds positions as an adjunct Professor at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad and Eruditus Executive Education (INSEAD & Wharton) in Mumbai and as an MBA Workshop Leader at Kaplan Business School where he teaches customised executive education programs in leadership, customer centricity and client relationship management.
Bianca Battistella (Deputy Chair)
Bianca Battistella is a Partner in the Corporate team at national law firm, Piper Alderman, with a particular focus on food and agribusiness.
She has a wealth of experience advising clients operating in the food, wine and agribusiness sectors ranging from small family businesses to sophisticated corporate enterprises. The majority of her legal work involves advising clients operating and investing in primary production, businesses adding value beyond the farm gate and businesses involved in agribusiness research and development. Bianca’s experience also includes advising boards and not for profit organisations on corporate governance and risk management issues.
Bianca is passionate about contributing to, and promoting, the success of South Australia’s food and agribusiness sectors and has been actively involved in these sectors for many years, in both her capacity as a legal professional and as a supporter of a number of industry bodies and initiatives.
Qualifications: Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) (University of Adelaide), Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice (Law Society of SA)
Following graduation, Paul worked in the oil and gas industry for almost twenty years. Much of this time was with Exxon Mobil where he managed a number of departments including Accounting and Finance, Economics and Planning, and Laboratory and QAQC Analysers. After leaving ExxonMobil, he worked in the biofuels industry.
His family operates a certified organic farm in the Adelaide Hills running cattle, sheep and an orchard. His interest in farming and horticulture encouraged him to join Zerella Fresh, a major grower and packer supplying major supermarkets nationally, as General Manager in early 2008.
Qualifications: Bachelor of Economics, Graduate Diploma of Accounting (Flinders University), CPA
John has been recently appointed as the Chief Executive Officer for the South Australian Potato Company, commencing in late November 2016. He was the General Manager of The South Australian Potato Company from 2001-2006. More recently John worked for a decade as the General Manager for The LaManna Group’s South Australian operations. Educated at Prince Alfred College and The University of South Australia, he holds a Degree in Business Management.
John has been involved in the Agricultural sector for over 15 years, and has worked closely with many Australian farmers across the continent, in numerous product categories.
Qualifications: Bachelor of Management (University of South Australia), Major Marketing, Minor Human Resources.
Prior to commencing in the agricultural sector in 2006, Rod was a finance professional in large multi-national manufacturing organisations within the Telecommunications, Defence and Broadcast industries. From 2006 until 2017 Rod has served as the Chief Financial Officer within large privately owned fresh produce businesses with full function finance responsibility, with a focus on strategic and operational performance. This has included strategy deployment, implementing Lean Management principles, implementing ERP systems, leveraging business process efficiencies, steering major cost reduction programs, and growing export markets. Rod joined Thomas Foods International Fresh Produce in 2014 as Chief Financial Officer, and in 2017 was appointed Chief Executive Officer.
Qualifications: Bachelor of Business (Accounting) (Monash University), CPA
Frank has been involved with the family business for more than 30 years, commencing as Sales Manager and is now The Mitolo Group’s CEO & Managing Director. Whilst in his role he has managed the strategic direction and significant growth of The Mitolo Group business. He actively leads the Sales and Marketing division including the Group’s market development and innovation strategies, as well as research and development initiatives such as plant breeding trials. In addition to the Mitolo Group role Frank is also the founder of Mitolo Wines and has just launched a cellar door and restaurant Bocca di Lupo in McLaren Vale. Frank has undergone leadership development activities through TEC and international YPO Forum.
James has been growing seed potatoes on Kangaroo Island for the past ten years. He was raised on his family’s sheep and cattle property, buying his own farm at the age of nineteen. Following thirteen years of producing export oaten hay for the Japanese market, James was encouraged by neighbours to enter the seed industry and now has 100 hectares under production. Seed potato production contributes 85% to his farming enterprise and it is predominantly sold to mainland South Australian growers.
Andrew is a third generation potato farmer at Kalangadoo in the southeast of South Australia and has been growing potatoes for processing for more than twenty years. His family business currently supplies potatoes to Safries/McCains Foods at Penola. He is Chair of the South East Potato Growers Association (SEPGA) which represents potato growers in the region. A passionate industry advocate, Andrew is keen to see the continuing development of an efficient and sustainable industry to meet consumer expectations.
Richard has a strong association with the land and grew up on his family’s farm in Naracoorte, South Australia. He has a strong technical background in agriculture and has worked at Elders Ltd for over fifteen years, focusing on the viticulture and horticulture industries. He began his career as a Branch Manager in the lower southeast of South Australia and spent four years working with local growers. He has spent the last ten years working with national corporate horticulture clients as a Key Account Manager.
Richard has been treasurer of Potatoes South Australia Incorporated since 2011. He has also been an advisor to the Barossa Valley viticulture technical group since 2006.
Qualifications: Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Adel)
Mr Brad Higgins is Westpac’s Regional General Manager, Agribusiness, South Australia and Western Australia and is responsible for managing end to end relationships across this geography of Australia. Brad was raised on a beef cattle and prime lamb property in South Australia’s Limestone Coast region and has 30 years agribusiness experience.
Prior to joining Westpac more than six years ago, he held senior client-facing roles with the Commonwealth Bank Australia and Global Animal Health Company, Pfizer Ltd. With detailed knowledge of all facets of agribusiness and a passion for sharing knowledge, Brad successfully links like-minded participants in the food and fibre production sector to ensure thought leadership is realised. He holds a Graduate Diploma of Management from the University of New England and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
It’s Brad’s belief that through leading research and development programs, Australian agribusiness professionals are in a strong position to share innovation, which is mutually beneficial with our trading partners.