Gardiner Dairy Foundation has appointed Dr Len Stephens as the new Chair of the organisation, effective from 15 October, 2020.

In announcing the appointment, outgoing Chair, Dr Bruce Kefford said, “I am delighted to welcome Dr Stephens to role of Chair of Gardiner Dairy Foundation. He brings to the chairmanship a wealth of experience in corporate governance and leadership, science, stakeholder engagement and project management across several agricultural sectors and in the seafood industry.”

Dr Stephens is a veterinarian, with specialist expertise in research management. He also has extensive experience in governance and the operations of industry owned rural R&D corporations. He is currently Chairman of Australian Seafood Industries Pty Ltd, Chairman of Oysters Australia Ltd and a Director of Animal Health Australia Ltd. Dr Stephens was appointed a Director of Gardiner Foundation in 2019.

He has family connections to dairying in Gippsland where he worked early in his career before being appointed as the inaugural director of the Victorian Institute of Animal Science. He is also a former director of Dairy Australia.

Addressing the  Gardiner Foundation ‘Year in Review’ following the 2020 AGM, Dr Kefford said, “Working effectively together to respond constructively to change is a dairy industry strength that has been demonstrated time and again.

“The most recent example is the Australian Dairy Plan which was launched last month after an extended industry-wide collaborative effort to improve the industry’s profitability, confidence and unity.

“Gardiner is proud to have been an active contributor to the development of the Plan providing leadership, governance, resources and strategic thinking in this vital endeavour.

“The Australian Dairy Plan presents a unique opportunity. It has brought together partners from across the dairy value chain to deliver a single plan with a single set of priorities drawn from the widest industry consultation. It provides a very good road map to a more profitable, confident and united future for the industry.

“It is important to recognise however that this Plan will only achieve its potential if everyone in the industry contributes to its delivery.”

In accepting the chairmanship of Gardiner Foundation, Dr Stephens said, “Dairy has a unique dedication to improvement and innovation.  So I am very glad to be back.

“It’s the right time to be back too. The extensive contributions and work that has been done on Dairy Plan has created a clear way forward. I am acutely aware that I have joined the team at the point where we must get cracking on the implementation.

“To help deliver on the profitability, confidence and unity that are central to the Dairy Plan, we will focus our efforts on those parts of the Dairy Plan where we can add the most value, based on our expertise and experience.

“Over the past few months it has been very satisfying to work with Gardiner staff and my fellow Directors to align the expertise we have with the abilities of Dairy Australia, industry bodies and service providers. The result is a set of collaborative programs that will have genuine impact.”

“I would like to sincerely thank Dr Kefford for his exceptional contributions to the Foundation. Over his two terms as Chair, Bruce has been instrumental in the Foundation’s strategic direction. He is also highly respected for his many contributions to overall improvement of the industry and his personal guidance to so many.”