Sudden departure for AA Co’s MD and CEO, Hugh Killen


Jon Condon, Beef Central (Australia)



AUSTRALIAN Agricultural Co managing director Hugh Killen has resigned from the company, in a dramatic development this morning.


In a statement to the ASX this morning, AA Co chairman Don McGauchie advised investors and the market of Mr Killen’s departure, effective immediately.


AA Co’s chief operating officer Dave Harris will take up the role of acting chief executive. The board will now conduct an executive search process that will include internal and external candidates in the domestic and international market.


The announcement comes just days after speculation mounted on Friday that WA billionaire Twiggy Forrest might mount a takeover bid for AA Co (see Beef Central’s earlier report).


Whether the two are connected in any way is open to conjecture, but there is no clear evidence at this time.


Others suspect the move has major shareholder, UK billionaire Joe Lewis’s fingerprint on it. Breakdown in cooperation between the AA Co board, with multiple agendas, and senior operations management has been a frequent companion of AA Co over the past 25-odd years, history shows.


“Hugh joined AA Co in 2017 and was appointed to the role of managing director and CEO in 2018,” Mr McGauchie said.


“He has steered AA Co through some of the worst droughts and floods Australia has ever seen, the global impacts of COVID and market fluctuations which occurred as a result of market impacts. He has focused on delivering AA Co’s branded beef strategy, built a team encompassing the next generation of leadership and led the turnaround of the company’s performance,” Mr McGauchie said...


... Mr Killen’s resignation adds a heightened level of interest in AA Co’s annual general meeting, scheduled this year for July 28...