'Extraordinary' speaker

Olam International senior vice-president Raj Vardhan will be guest speaker at an agribusiness conference in Queenstown next month.

Registrations are still being accepted for the symposium, from March 19 to 22, which is being hosted by Dunedin-based agribusiness consulting and new ventures company AbacusBio Ltd.

AbacusBio partner Dr Anna Campbell described confirmation of Mr Vardhan's attendance as ''massive'', saying his practical, hands-on experience in emerging markets was ''extraordinary''.

Olam International is a global integrated supply chain manager and processor of agricultural products and food ingredients, supplying products in 65 countries.

The company boasts more than 18,000 employees and its businesses included cocoa, coffee, cashew, sesame, rice, cotton and wood products. It has turnover of more than $US13 billion ($NZ15.6 billion).

Under Mr Vardhan's leadership, the company's China operations have grown to turnover of $US250 million within three years of incorporation.

A case study discussion about Olam International will precede Mr Vardhan's address. Ten case studies have been selected for discussion, all relevant to Australasian agribusiness.

The symposium will be led by Mary Shelman, director of Harvard Business School's agribusiness programme, and Prof Damien McLoughlin, professor of marketing and associate dean at UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, in Ireland.

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