PGG Wrightson board given 'refresh'

PGG Wrightson's board has had a major shake-up with directorship changes announced yesterday as part of a ''board refresh''.

Deputy chairman Trevor Burt and independent director Bruce Irvine would retire as directors, effective at April 30.

Three new appointments had been made: Rodger Finlay, who will become board chairman, David Cushing and Sarah Brown who will join the board as independent directors, chairman Joo Hai Lee, who would become deputy chairman, said.

H&G, the Cushing family's investment vehicle, bought a 2.2% stake from Agria last week, adding 17 million shares to its stake of 3.1million shares. That equates to about 2.7% of Wrightson's shares on issue.

The Cushing family has a long track-record with Wrightson. In 2005, H&G sold into a Wrightson takeover of Hawke's Bay-based stock and station agency Williams & Kettle.

Selwyn Cushing subsequently joined Wrightson's board and stayed on as a director until 2012, overseeing the merger with Pyne Gould Guinness, the aborted Silver Fern Farms deal, and the introduction of Agria as a cornerstone in the business in 2009 when it bailed out the company.

David Cushing acted as an alternative Wrightson director for Agria executive chairman Alan Lai in 2010.

He is the executive chairman of Rural Equities Ltd and a director of Skellerup Holdings Ltd, ASX-listed water and agribusiness Webster Ltd, H & G Ltd and Red Steel Ltd.

Mr Finlay, who grew up in Dunedin, is chairman of fund manager Mundane Asset Management, chairman of the independent advisory panel of the Provincial Growth Fund, deputy chairman of Rural Equities Ltd, a director of Ngai Tahu Holdings Ltd and a governor of Radio New Zealand.

His experience in the rural sector included having previously farmed in partnership in the Hakataramea Valley, membership of the PGW AgriTech committee, and as a director of ASX-listed cotton farmer Tandou Ltd.

Ms Brown, a commercial lawyer, is a director of Electricity Invercargill Ltd, PowerNet Ltd and a member of the OtagoNet governing committee and the independent advisory panel of the Provincial Growth Fund.

- Additional reporting by BusinessDesk

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