HE POLARISED opinion in his tenure at GrainGrowers, but there is no doubt former managing director of the business Mark Allison had a vision to lead his company forward.
During his time at the top, there were an impressive number of initiatives launched, along with an ambitious strategic plan designed to make GrainGrowers one of the most important grower-focused organisations in the country.
Now he has taken the job at Elders, but like a parent not quite able to let go of their child when they move out, he is set to remain involved as a non-executive director of the organisation.
GrainGrowers' officials have expressed their pleasure that Mr Allison is staying on, saying he will provide valuable experience and allow continuity in the evolution of the organisation.
That’s a valid point, but now seems to be the perfect time for Mr Allison to make a clean break.
With a new managing director to be appointed, Mr Allison needs to allow them the space to forge their own mark and follow up from his vision in the way they see fit.
No matter how well he gets on with his replacement, his continuation on the board could distract the new GrainGrowers team from getting the job done their way, especially in light of his strong links with the current board and many advisory committee members.
Continuity is not going to be an issue, with the board remaining extremely stable in its composition with many long-term directors in its make up, and a solid core of executive staff very familiar with the business, such as care-taker MD of the business Alicia Garden.
While taking on non-executive directorships at other companies is common in the corporate world, we’d also suggest ailing Elders would be an "all hands on the rudder" job at the moment.
Now is the perfect time to let the next generation at GrainGrowers get on with the task at hand and further bedding down Mr Allison’s far-reaching reform of the company.
That may mean changes in some parts of the current plan according to their own instincts, just as Mr Allison himself changed course from that of his predecessor Peter Flottmann and they need the chance to make these decisions free of the burden of the past.