EXECUTIVE changes are taking place at Wellard with Fred Troncone resigning as director and executive director – operations recently and replaced by the current chairman and non-executive director John Klepec, who has been appointed as interim executive chairman.
Mr Klepec will take over the management of Wellard’s day-to-day operations as the company continues to undergo a strategic refocus in respect of its livestock and charter divisions.
The package deal will see Mr Klepec’s existing chairman’s and associated director’s fees of $235,000 per annum added to by an additional monthly fee of $31,000, payable until December 31, 2018, in respect of the additional interim duties which will be provided on a consultancy basis.
Wellard’s strategic themes remain the same, with the principal goal to continue to rebuild the company’s balance sheet.
The company will remain both a cattle trader and a charterer.
In the immediate short-term, Wellard will concentrate its charter division primarily on the South American live cattle export market to Europe, while its live cattle export division will narrow its focus to trading Australian-sourced cattle to the South East Asia market, where Wellard has been the dominant supplier.
In refocusing the strategy, the board and Mr Troncone concluded that this should be implemented by a new senior manager.
Consequently Mr Klepec was requested by the board to manage the operations role until a permanent replacement was identified.
He will revert to the role of chairman ollowing this interim engagement.
Mr Klepec thanked Mr Troncone and recognised the significant contribution he had made to Wellard, “particularly in helping stabilise the business during difficult market conditions, and in relation to a very successful costs-out program”.
Mr Klepec possesses considerable expertise in both agriculture and listed companies and will work with Wellard chief executive officer Mauro Balzarini, who continues to focus on strategic planning and the development of growth initiatives.
Chief business development officer Scot Braithwaite has also tended his resignation from the business to pursue other opportunities, and will leave Wellard at the end of October, 2018.
Mr Klepec said Wellard planned to release its financial results in the second half of August.
He said Wellard vessels enjoyed strong bookings to the end of 2018.
“With cattle prices in Australia stabilising at lower, more attractive levels, the company is receiving increased interest from South East Asian markets and is looking at regaining market dominance in this core trade,” Mr Klepec said.