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Rabobank Agribusiness Leadership Awards return after Covid break – with nominations now open for 2023

The annual trans-Tasman Rabobank Leadership Awards is returning – after a three-year Covid-enforced hiatus – with nominations now open for 2023.

And a new award – recognising an outstanding rural community initiative – has been added to the long-standing prestigious business awards programme.

Run for more than 20 years by agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank, the peer-nominated awards recognise outstanding leadership in New Zealand and Australia’s food, beverage and agribusiness industries, with two key business leadership accolades.

The Rabobank Leadership Award honours an accomplished senior agribusiness sector leader, while the Rabobank Emerging Leader Award recognises outstanding up-and-coming agri industry talent.

Previous recipients of the Rabobank Leadership Award include former Sanford CEO Volker Kuntzsch, New Zealand meat industry pioneer Sir Graeme Harrison and New Zealand dairy industry identity Sir Henry van der Heyden.

The Rabobank Emerging Leader Award has gone to recipients including New Zealand dairy producer Mat Hocken, South Australian viticulturist Zachary Caudo and Woolworth’s Anna Speer.

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Todd Charteris

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Todd Charteris

Announcing the opening of nominations for the 2023 Leadership Awards, Rabobank NZ CEO Todd Charteris said the bank was thrilled to welcome the return of the awards programme after Covid restrictions had put a pause on the annual Rabobank awards ceremony after 2019.

“New Zealand and Australian agribusiness companies operate in an environment which is increasingly volatile and complex, and the role of industry leadership has never been more important,” he said.

“So it’s fantastic to have the awards back this year as they not only provide an opportunity to recognise those who are already making a significant contribution to food and agribusiness across the Australasia region, but also to highlight some of the emerging leaders who will help steer the industry into the future,” he said.

Mr Charteris said the bank was also pleased to mark the return of the Rabobank Leadership Awards with the introduction of a new Rabobank Community Leadership Award, with separate Community Leadership Awards to be presented in both New Zealand and Australia.

“The new award will go to an exceptional initiative in each country which provides meaningful benefit to the rural community,” he said.

“This new award category aims to shine a light on community initiatives that align with one or more of the key themes linked to the work being undertaken by the Rabo Client Councils – groups of the bank’s clients in New Zealand and Australia, who work with Rabobank to address industry and community challenges in farming and agribusiness.

“In New Zealand we have four Client Councils – two in the North Island and two in the South – and the five key themes they have identified to address are; long-term industry capacity and agricultural education, environmental sustainability, the rural/urban divide, rural health and adaptation/disruption in the rural sector.”

A cash prize of AUD25,000 will be gifted to the winning Rabobank Community Leadership Award initiative in each country in order to help strengthen its impact.

Mr Charteris encouraged those involved in New Zealand’s agricultural sector to nominate peers and community organisations and, in doing so, recognise their leadership and positive contribution to the future growth, prosperity and sustainability of New Zealand food and agribusiness.

“New Zealand-based leaders scooped both the major accolades at the last event in 2019, and it would great to see plenty of entries from this side of the ditch for the upcoming Awards,” he said.

The Rabobank Leadership Award recognises 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 acknowledges the contribution and role of up-and-coming farmers, and those in the wider agribusiness sector, who demonstrate strong leadership potential.

Nominations close on February 17, 2023.

Nomination forms, together with the judging criteria, can be found on the Rabobank Leadership Awards website at

Award winners will be announced at an event in March 2023.

Rabobank New Zealand is a part of the global Rabobank Group, the world’s leading specialist in food and agribusiness banking. Rabobank has more than 120 years’ experience providing customised banking and finance solutions to businesses involved in all aspects of food and agribusiness. Rabobank Group is structured as a cooperative and operates in 38 countries, servicing the needs of about 8.4 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 28 offices throughout New Zealand.

Media contacts:

David Johnston
Marketing & Media Relations Manager
Rabobank New Zealand
Phone: 027 477 8153

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