Mr Norton will take up the reins on 1 February 2021, following a global search for a leader who would continue to drive Food Agility’s vision for a sustainable food future powered by data and digital.
At MLA, Mr Norton oversaw an annual research and development budget of up to $220million and the creation of Integrity Systems Company (ISC), a digital traceability system that underpins trust in the red meat sector.
He has also been Director of Agrium Asia Pacific, Managing Director of Landmark Operations and Chairman of Integrated Traceability Solutions (ITS).
Mr Norton said he had been attracted to the role because of the incredible capability within the team and board, as well as Food Agility’s purpose and approach.
“Globally, markets and investors are demanding evidence of climate action. Data and digital will be key in meeting those demands and differentiating the Australian brand in the global marketplace,” Mr Norton said.
“At home, poor connectivity in regional Australia is one of the greatest barriers to productivity. The future of our agrifood industry will depend on breaking down that barrier to drive data sharing and digital adoption.
“They are big challenges, requiring new approaches to innovation; old R&D models won’t work. I’m excited by the agile, design-led methods Food Agility is bringing to the research sector.”
Food Agility CRC Chair, Dr Anne Astin AM PSM, said the role had been hotly contested.
“The high calibre of applications we received is a testament to Food Agility and the reputation it has established,” Dr Astin said.
“Ultimately, it was Richard’s deep expertise in the agrifood sector, including in digital innovation, as well as his track record as an organisational leader, that impressed the board.
“Richard brings a strong commercial lens that will be critical as Food Agility focuses on building scalable pathways to get research out of universities and into industry.”
Dr Astin extended her thanks to Dr Mike Briers AO for his leadership over the past three years.
“We are all here because of Mike’s vision. On behalf of the board, we thank him for his leadership in building an incredible team that is breaking new ground in digital agrifood innovation,” she said.
Dr Briers announced in October last year that he would step down as CEO as part of a planned transition.
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