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MLA Board selection: how does it work?

21 May 2020

DID YOU KNOW?

  • MLA has recently called for applications to fill three non-executive director positions on its Board.
  • The application process is open to everyone and those who fit this year’s skill sets are encouraged to apply.
  • The Selection Committee is an independent body consisting of producer representatives, PIC representatives and two non-voting MLA Directors.
  • The MLA Board provides strategic guidance and effective oversight of the management and performance of MLA in delivering its Strategic Plan.

Here, MLA’s Board Selection Committee Chair, Jane Kellock, discusses the rigorous process followed to ensure only the best candidates are endorsed for election to the skills-based Board.

Why did you join the MLA Board Selection Committee?

I joined the MLA Board Selection Committee nine years ago to represent sheep producers, as my husband and I run a mixed-farming enterprise in Farrell Flat in mid-north SA. We have a self-replacing Merino flock, a lamb-finishing system, and cereal and legume cropping.

What’s the purpose of the Board Selection Committee and how is it made up?

Our responsibility is to endorse candidates for election to the MLA Board based on skills, experience and industry knowledge.

The Board Selection Committee is made up of four independent producer representatives, three industry peak council representatives and two MLA Board Directors (with no voting rights).

We have a good balance of producers as well as industry representatives to ensure all facets of the red meat industry are covered and we can identify exceptional candidates to endorse for election to the MLA Board.

Can you explain the Board Director selection process?

Firstly, the Selection Committee decides what skills are required in candidates to fill ‘skill gaps’ and provide a balanced MLA Board. This is a vital step which the committee takes seriously to ensure the Board Directors have complementary skills which reflect the diversity required to make important decisions in the best interest of members and for the long-term benefit of the livestock industry.

Secondly, we decide where to advertise in order to attract the best talent for the board positions available, review applications and shortlist candidates for a face-to-face interview. We do this together with a professional recruitment agency to ensure we get the best outcomes for the MLA Board.

The interview process is quite intense; all nine committee members ask questions to make sure candidates have an understanding as well as a passion for the red meat industry.

In addition to the specific skills sought, we assess candidates on their business acumen, financial literacy and understanding of corporate governance. During the interview we also ask candidates to present how they meet the criteria and how they can contribute to the Board, their ideas on MLA’s contribution to the red meat industry and their thoughts on industry issues.

Finally, the Selection Committee votes on which candidates should be endorsed for election to the MLA Board and the recruitment agency – along with MLA’s Company Secretary – completes due diligence on the individuals who are selected.

MLA members then vote for the endorsed candidate they would like elected to the MLA Board at the Annual General Meeting (AGM).

How does this selection process benefit producers?

It’s a completely independent and diligent process, so MLA members can be assured the Board Directors elected are of a high caliber. We ask the tough questions – it’s a thorough process and the people we have sitting at the table have a really good understanding of the industry and know what the key issues are.

Producers also have the opportunity to apply for the MLA Board Director positions. This year, the selection committee is seeking candidates with expertise in Australian beef production, sheepmeat production, and financial, audit and risk framework oversight.

It’s important for producers to become MLA members so they can participate in the voting process at the AGM and have their say. MLA’s 2020 AGM will be held in Toowoomba, Queensland on 19 November 2020.