THE search for a new chief executive officer at the WA Meat Marketing Co-operative (WAMMCO) is under way after Des Griffiths announced he would resign next year.
Mr Griffiths, 64, took over as CEO from Brian Aitkens in October 2000, a year after WAMMCO changed from a statutory marketing corporation to a farmer co-operative.
While the change to a co-operative brought structural changes, the WAMMCO name and brand remained.
"For the average producer it was a pretty seamless change," Mr Griffiths said.
The WAMMCO plant at Katanning mainly processes lamb for export.
Mr Griffiths said his main achievement in almost eight years as CEO was to help change the legacy of a supply driven statutory corporation into a market driven co-operative.
"The old system was very much supply driven and it had to take whatever product was supplied, even if it was of poor quality and light weight," Mr Griffiths said.
"We had to market a product the market didn't want.
"I think the biggest success has been to supply what the markets wanted and to get maximum prices and margins and to get producers to see the benefits."
He said this involved developing higher value lamb markets such as the US which required bigger animals.”
Mr Griffiths, who has spent 36 years in the WA meat industry, said the market driven strategy had paid off because WAMMCO lamb carcase weights had increased from 17kg-18kg in 1999 to 20kg-21kg.
"That's quite a significant increase in a couple of years," he said.
"In the past three years we have paid $3 million to producers in rebates from profits."