The Northern Cooperative Meat Company posted a $1.03 million after-tax loss for the past financial year.
The Northern Cooperative Meat Company posted a $1.03 million after-tax loss for the past financial year. Jacklyn Wagner

Meatworks CEO to stand down

CASINO meatworks chief executive Gary Burridge has announced he will move on after the co-op posted an after-tax loss of $1.03 million for the past financial year.

After a particularly tough 12 months for the cattle industry, the Northern Cooperative Meat Company yesterday assured members that despite the loss it was in a "very sound financial position".

Co-op chairman George Bennett told the annual meeting yesterday managers were "looking forward to a more positive year ahead".

He said the result, which was expected, was due to the high Australian dollar, two months of unprecedented rainfall and flooding, a significant bad debt and a large claim.

He did not elaborate on the latter two issues.

Mr Bennett also told shareholders Mr Burridge would leave the company in April after more than 18 years with the meatworks.

"Gary's skill set and experience will be sadly missed by the board, the management team, our operators and the cooperative members," Mr Bennett said.

"His decision to leave was not an easy one nor was it an outcome that the board wanted or accepted lightly, but after extensive discussions Gary felt it was an opportune time for him to leave and for his successor to take over the reins."

While it hasn't been revealed where Mr Burridge will go, Mr Bennett said he had accepted a directorship with a large non-competing Australian company.

"Gary made his decision in September of this year, when he was approached to take up the role as a director. It is a role that presents a new set of challenges for Gary and new opportunities," Mr Bennett said.

Mr Burridge said he was sad to leave the co-op but was "happy to be leaving at a time when it is well positioned for the future".

He reserved a parting shot for Richmond Valley Council, which he said was out of touch with commercial realities.

"My only regret in the 18 years at the co-operative has been to witness the appalling behaviour of our local council and its executive," he said.

"They have failed the community, our business, other businesses in our shire and they are oblivious to the regional wealth generated by businesses in our area and in particular businesses like the Northern Cooperative Meat Company.

"The council and its executive are detached from the commercial pressures that businesses in our shire operate under and council's decision-making processes can best be described as pathetic.

"For council to impose an additional $1 million charge on a business like ours for water demonstrates how far out of touch they are."

Mr Burridge will remain in the Northern Rivers area.

 

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