AUSTRALIAN Livestock Exporters' Council CEO Alison Penfold has announced her plans to move on from the organisation to pursue other professional opportunities.
Ms Penfold started at ALEC in February 2012 and has been at the helm during the industry's recovery from the controversial Indonesian cattle ban the previous June and moves to improve animal welfare standards.
In a statement earlier this week ALEC Chair Simon Crean announced that Ms Penfold would step down at the end of July.
Mr Crean said Ms Penfold had decided to pursue other professional opportunities, which was a move ALEC directors understood and fully supported.
He made the announcement to ALEC members at the group's half-yearly general meeting in Brisbane.
He said Ms Penfold had given four years of commitment, dedication and leadership to the organisation.
"Alison has been a formidable CEO, an agent for creative change and a determined and highly respected advocate," he said.
"She leaves the organisation in much stronger shape to meet the significant opportunities and challenges facing the industry, in line with ALEC's mission to promote the sustainable export of Australian livestock.
"Her drive and leadership will be missed."
Mr Crean said the departing CEO had overseen fundamental changes in the way the livestock export business operated.
"We thank her for her legacy and she goes with our best wishes for the future," he said.
"Alison has fought hard for policy and regulatory reform both internally and externally, as well as leading our reform strategy which has challenged industry to understand and embrace corporate responsibility and social license concepts.
"Her time with ALEC has seen significant change within the organisation including a new 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, the development of a new annual operating plan and budget framework, new governance arrangements, organisational growth, new revenue streams, and a more effective approach to communications and public advocacy."
Ms Penfold said the CEO's role at ALEC had been a challenging but extremely rewarding experience.
She said at the start she was given the significant task of refocusing the organisation on the risks to industry sustainability and driving change across the trade.
"As an organisation we had to have a good look at the cause of the 2011 ban and how we could prevent it from occurring again," she said.
"Since then, ALEC has worked to support and implement changes to better address community concerns about the welfare of exported livestock by challenging members to be more responsive to community concerns and better participate in, respond to and influence the public conversation about the industry."
ALEC said its board had commenced the process to appoint a new CEO with an announcement regarding the role to be made in due course.