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Nominations open for 2018 agribusiness leadership awards

Nominations have opened for this year’s Rabobank Leadership Awards, recognising outstanding individual achievement in, and contribution to, New Zealand and Australia’s food, beverage and agribusiness industries.

The two industry accolades – the Rabobank Leadership Award and the Rabobank Emerging Leader Award – are awarded annually to an accomplished leader in the agricultural sector and an up-and-coming leader.

Last year’s Rabobank Leadership Award went to Australian agricultural industry luminary David Crombie AM for his outstanding contribution to the food, beverage and agribusiness sectors. Now in its thirteenth year, the award is presented to an individual who has built an expansive career in management and leadership in New Zealand or Australian agriculture and has, as a senior executive, led sustained growth and commercial success while demonstrating a wider commitment to the broader community.

The Rabobank Emerging Leader Award, introduced in 2013, acknowledges the contribution and role of up-and-coming farmers, and those in the wider agribusiness sector, who demonstrate strong leadership potential. Winner of the 2017 award was Nathan Free, managing director of Victoria’s largest organic farming operation Duralgai Horticultural.

Announcing the opening of nominations for the 2018 awards, Rabobank New Zealand CEO Todd Charteris urged those involved in the agricultural sector to nominate peers and in doing so, recognise their leadership and positive contribution to the future growth and prosperity of the sector.

“On top of highlighting those who already make a significant contribution to New Zealand and Australia’s food and agribusiness industries, the Leadership awards also help to unearth the next generation of industry leaders who will take the sector forward in the future,” he said.

Mr Charteris said strong leadership was vital if New Zealand’s agribusiness sector was to realise its potential.

“New Zealand’s agribusiness sector is currently performing strongly and there are a host of reasons to be optimistic about the future with positive demand fundamentals stemming from the growing global population, changing diets and New Zealand’s strong international reputation as a supplier of top quality products.

“However, a host of challenges exist for the sector with agribusiness operations constantly required to adapt to changes in the local operating environment and in the needs of their end consumers. Navigating the best path is far from straightforward, and as such the role of strong and dynamic agricultural industry leaders has never been so important.”

Mr Charteris said previous New Zealand recipients of the Rabobank Leadership Award included agri-corporate leaders Sir Graeme Harrison, Sir George Fistonich and Sir Henry van Der Heyden.

The Emerging Leader Award is yet to have a New Zealand winner, having previously been awarded to Australian-based recipients.

Nominations for this year’s awards close on August 10, 2018, with the winner to be announced at the annual Rabobank Leadership Awards dinner, to be held in Sydney on Thursday, October 11, 2018.
Nominations for both awards, together with the judging criteria, can be made on the Rabobank Leadership Awards website at

Rabobank New Zealand is a part of the global Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has 120 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank is structured as a cooperative and operates in 40 countries, servicing the needs of about 8.8 million clients worldwide through a network of close to 1000 offices and branches. Rabobank New Zealand is one of the country's leading agricultural lenders and a significant provider of business and corporate banking and financial services to the New Zealand food and agribusiness sector. The bank has 32 branches throughout New Zealand.

Media contacts:

David Johnston
Marketing & Media Relations Manager
Rabobank New Zealand
Phone: 04 819 2711 or 027 477 8153

Denise Shaw
Head of Media Relations 
Rabobank Australia & New Zealand 
Phone: +612 8115 2744 or +61 2 439 603 525