Our board

The Board sets our strategic direction and monitors our ongoing performance. The Board consists of nine non-executive directors, including the Chair and Managing Director.

The GRDC Board is governed by a Charter. This document consolidates the policies and procedures for the Board and Board Committees which include the Audit and Risk Committee and the Remuneration, People and Performance Committee.

View our Board members and committees.


Image of Mr John Woods

Mr John Woods, BAppSc, MAICD

New South Wales/Queensland

Grains Research and Development Corporation - Chair

Appointed as Director (Non-Executive): 8 March 2012 to 30 September 2016

Appointed as Chair (Non-Executive): 1 October 2016 - Present

Member: Remuneration, People and Performance Committee

Lawson Grains Pty Ltd: Director 2022 - Present

John is partner and manager of a broadacre agribusiness based in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. He has responsibility for all business aspects, including financial management, production and crop husbandry, marketing and logistics, resource management and work health and safety. He is also Chair of R&R Hire Services in Queensland, and immediate past Chair of the Council of Rural Research & Development Corporations 2019-2022.

John has a history of working collaboratively with a range of public and private organisations in the investment, development, extension and adoption of new technology and innovation.

He was Chairman of the Science Advisory Group of the National Agricultural Monitoring System (NAMS) between 2005 and 2009, and a member of the NAMS Advisory Reference Group and Steering Committee. He also spent six years, to 2005, on the National Rural Advisory Council.

John was Chairman of ChemCert Training Queensland from 2002 to 2004 and has held positions with Cotton Australia and Farmsafe Queensland.


Mr Bob Nixon

Mr Bob Nixon

Western Australia

Director (Non-Executive) and Deputy Chair

Appointed: 1 October 2020, reappointed 1 October 2023, appointed Deputy Chair in 2024

Member: Audit and Risk Committee (from 9 December 2020 to 30 September 2023, reappointed 6 December 2023); Remuneration People and Performance Committee (from 6 December 2023).

Bob owns and manages a family farming business Bunketch Ag in the 300mm annual rainfall North-eastern wheatbelt of Western Australia. The family grow wheat, barley, canola, lupins, chick peas and serradella cover crop. He has a strong interest in crop agronomy, soil health, whole of landscape management and resilient farming systems and communities.

Bob is past Chair of the Grain Industry Association of WA (GIWA) from 2017 to 2020 and past member of the GRDC Soils Constraints West steering committee. He currently sits on the WA Soil and Land Conservation Council and is an active member of his local Liebe Grower Group.

He completed a Nuffield Scholarship in 2014 looking into ‘Mitigating Risk in a Dry and Variable Climate’ in response to the drying out and increase in seasonal variability of the WA cropping belt. Bob was awarded the GRDC Seed of Light in 2019 for his work in managing soil constraints.


Image of Mr Nigel Hart

Mr Nigel Hart

Managing Director

Nigel grew up in southern New South Wales and has spent more than 25 years working in executive and leadership positions in large scale infrastructure, port, warehousing and supply chains operations for the grains sector, both within Australian and internationally.

Nigel has worked as an expert consultant on a range of projects in the grain supply chain from international bench marking of bulk and container supply chains, plant protein manufacturing, hybrid wheat commercialisation, digital strategies for supply chain optimisation and the design and development of a 1.3mmt grain export terminal.

He was previously Global Director (Ports) at Archer Daniels Midland where he led the development of a global port’s growth and productivity strategy across Asia, Europe, South America and the USA.

Prior to this he spent 15 years at GrainCorp culminating in his position as Group General Manager – Storage and Logistics where he led the storage and logistics operations, grain accumulation and domestic customer management teams across the east coast of Australia.

Nigel has a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Western Sydney University, is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and successfully completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2013.


Image of Mr Richard Heath

Mr Richard Heath, BSc (Hons), GAICD

New South Wales

Director (Non-Executive)

Appointed: 1 October 2017, reappointed to 30 September 2023, reappointed to 30 September 2026

Chair: Remuneration, People and Performance Committee (from 9 December 2020 to 30 September 2023, reappointed 6 December 2023)

Richard is the CEO of the Zero Net Emissions from Agriculture Cooperative Research Centre (ZNE-Ag CRC). The ZNE-Ag CRC has been formed to catalyse industry, community, and government action to achieve Zero Net Emissions from agriculture.

Previous to this role Richard was the Executive Director of the Australian Farm Institute, an independent agricultural policy research organisation. Richard was also an Associate Professor of Agronomy and Farm Management at the University of Sydney and before that, was involved in a large family farming business in North West NSW. He is a Nuffield scholar and was a director of Nuffield Australia.


Image of Sharon Starick

Mrs Sharon Starick

South Australia

Director (Non-Executive)

Appointed: 30 November 2018, reappointed to 30 September 2023, reappointed 30 September 2026

Chair: Audit and Risk Committee (from 6 December 2023).

Member: Audit and Risk Committee (from 9 December 2019 to 30 September 2020 and then from 9 December 2020 to 30 September 2023).

Since 1993, Sharon and her husband have been producing grain and pork in the Mallee region of South Australia. Her extensive knowledge of sustainable primary production was developed through a Degree in Agricultural Science through Adelaide University, her own on‑farm practices and past participation on the Boards of Mallee Sustainable Farming and the South Australian No-Till Farmers Association.

Through Sharon’s strong interest in policy development and collaboration within Australian agriculture, she currently holds the positions of Chair of Animal Health Australia, Director of the Regional Investment Corporation, independent Chair of the SA Future Drought Fund Advisory Group and Committee member, Murray Plains Farmers

She also has a passion for natural resource management and conservation that is reflected in her past involvement as Chair of the South Australian Murray– Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board and as a member of South Australia’s Natural Resources Management Council, the Australian Landcare Council and the Community Advisory Committee for the Murray–Darling Basin Ministerial Council.

As a past director of Land & Water Australia, Sharon has experience in strategic planning for research and extension. Sharon is a past participant in the Murray -Darling Basin Leadership Program and was awarded the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award for South Australia in 2003.


Mr Shaun Coffey



Director (Non-Executive)

Appointed: 1 October 2023 to 30 September 2026

Shaun Coffey is an internationally acknowledged leader in agriculture, with over 30 years of experience as a Non-Executive Director, Chairman and CEO.

An agronomist and geneticist by training, Shaun developed broad interests across science and technology through key leadership roles, such as Director of Research and Extension in the Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Foundation Chief of the CSIRO Division of Livestock Industries (2002-2006) and as CEO of the NZ Crown entity, Industrial Research Ltd (2007-2013).

Shaun has become known as a business and science entrepreneur. He has been involved in the founding of many start-ups and joint ventures in technology. He has operated in the agriculture, manufacturing, energy, environment, health, and services sectors

He currently serves on the Board of the Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre and as Director of Capacity Building in the Crawford Fund for a Food Secure World. He recently retired as Chair of the Agriculture and Food Forum of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.


Kellie Benda

Ms Kellie Benda

Western Australia

Director (Non-Executive)

Appointed: 1 October 2023 to 30 September 2026

Member: Audit and Risk Committee (from 6 December 2023).

Kellie is an experienced non-executive director having served or is serving on boards as a non-executive director and Chair, since 2003; including Federal and State government trading enterprises, public listed and unlisted companies, private equity funded entities, mutuals and various not-for-profits.

She is a graduate of and has been awarded a fellowship by the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

After commencing her career with King & Wood Mallesons as a corporate lawyer, she moved into investment banking, and most recently held senior executive positions as Chief Operating Officer; Chief Risk Officer, and Executive General Manager within AX20 companies, with responsibility for large and complex portfolios.

She holds a Bachelor of Law, Bachelor of Arts (Industrial Relations), Master of Applied Finance and is a graduate of the Harvard Advanced Management Programme. She has also studied digital leadership at Masters level.

She leads with vision and values; and has a collaborative approach which helps create a trusting, open environment prepared for challenge and change, as proven across a range of industries including property, energy & mining, infrastructure, technology (digital and data, geospatial), agribusiness, carbon, forestry and financial services.

She enjoys working in complex, diverse, changing environments; balancing best practice and an evidence-based approach with the many challenges facing organisations.


Belinda Turner

Ms Belinda (Bindi) Turner CA MBA MAICD

New South Wales

Director (Non-Executive)

Appointed: 1 October 2023 to 30 September 2026

Member: Audit and Risk Committee (from 6 December 2023).

Belinda (Bindi) Turner is an Agribusiness executive with experience across the grain supply chain. Based in Inverell, NSW where her family operate a mixed farming and stud cattle enterprise, she is the Chief Investment Officer of Agri Carbon Investments, an asset manager providing investment pathways into agriculture, with a focus on regenerative practices and carbon.

Previously Bindi was part of the team that built and operated one of the largest grain producers in Australia, on behalf of an Institutional Investor.

Bindi has delivered key strategic commercial outcomes in areas such as procurement, contracting, grain marketing and precision agriculture as well as financial and management reporting.

Prior to moving into corporate agriculture, Bindi held senior finance and management roles in the Australian offices of global agricultural commodity trading houses COFCO International and Nidera.

She has been a Director of Queensland Rural Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) since 2015 and chairs the Audit and Risk Committee.

Bindi has an Executive MBA from Melbourne Business School, a Graduate Certificate in Agribusiness from Marcus Oldham College, a Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) from the University of Sydney and is a Chartered Accountant.


Ms Natalie Sommerville

Ms Natalie Sommerville

South Australia

Director (Non-Executive)

Appointment: 1 October 2023 to 1 October 2026.


The board has two committees:

Audit and Risk Committee — assists the board in fulfilling its corporate governance responsibilities and reviews our:

  • external financial and performance reporting process
  • internal control system
  • risk management strategy and processes
  • internal and external audits
  • statutory reporting obligations.

Members of the Audit and Risk Committee are to be appointed.

Remuneration, People and Performance Committee – reviews and makes recommendations to the board on matters relating to:

  • our recruitment, remuneration, development, performance and retention policies including strategic workforce planning and organisational development
  • fostering a performance culture
  • the selection, remuneration and performance of the Managing Director
  • the development and performance of the board.

Members of the Remuneration, People and Performance Committee are to be appointed.