Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) managing director Dr Dan Johnson is leaving the Institute to take up a position as Pro Vice Chancellor Research Innovation at Macquarie University.
“It’s been one of the great honours of my life to have led the AWRI, working closely with the Australian wine industry” said Johnson. He will start his new role in February 2020.
AWRI chair Louisa Rose said the Institute is sad to lose Johnson but acknowledges the exciting opportunity he has been offered.
“The AWRI Board is grateful for Dan’s leadership and his dedication to the Australian wine industry. Dan leaves the AWRI in a very strong position and it will continue to deliver positive outcomes for grape and wine producers.”
“Dr Johnson will maintain his association with the Australian wine industry and the wider scientific community in his new role as a leader in innovation and research.”
Johnson started at the AWRI in 2006 and held senior positions prior to his appointment as managing director in 2011.
“I’m so proud of what has been achieved for Australian grape and wine producers. The AWRI is ideally placed to undertake a leadership transition, and I wish it every success for the future,” Johnson said.
The AWRI Board will conduct a global search for his replacement.
Chair of Wine Australia stands down
Meanwhile, earlier this month the chair of Wine Australia, Brian Walsh, announced he would be stepping down as chair on 30 September.
Board director Brian Croser said: “Over the past five years, Brian has made an unparalleled contribution to the Australian grape and wine community as Chair of Wine Australia at the most critical moment of its modern history.
“Faced with a retreating sector after the global financial crisis and the challenge of merging two statutory organisations, he has led a consensus Board and motivated Wine Australia’s executive team to meet the challenges.
“Largely due to his considered and considerate leadership, with very capable execution by the executive, Wine Australia has been highly effective in elevating Australia’s fine wine image in global markets, advancing quality and competitiveness through research and innovation, and protecting the reputation of Australian wine through diligent application of regulation.
“The Australian grape and wine community is enjoying a revival as the dynamic and successful contributor to Australian life it has the potential to be and Brian has been a key architect of this revival.”
Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie congratulated Walsh on his achievements while in the role.
“Since Brian started as Chair five years ago, he has overseen a huge increase in the value of Australian wine exports,” McKenzie said.
“In 2014, when Brian started, Australian wine exports sat at $1.8 billion which has since climbed to $2.8 billion, which is a massive 57 per cent increase.”
Mr Walsh has chaired Wine Australia (which was earlier known as the Australian Grape and Wine Authority) since the organisation was formed on 1 July 2014 from a merger of Wine Australia Corporation and the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation.