Media Release 14/07/22
Des Griffiths, an early CEO of the WA Meat Marketing Cooperative, credited with helping WA lamb producers to reshape an influential global lamb processing and marketing cooperative, passed away in Perth on Tuesday.
Coll MacRury who took over from Mr Griffiths as CEO of WAMMCO in 2008 announced his passing after a recent seizure.
“Des was a man of uniqiue experience in the meat industry,” Mr MacRury said.
His talents were put on hold in the wake of a government-inspired merger of the Chinese-owned meat processing plant operated by Metro Meat International at Katanning and the original WA Lamb Marketing Board which acquired all lambs for sale in WA for nearly 30 years.
A previous State Manager of the Metro plants at Katanning and Linley Valley, Des joined the new grower cooperative in a lesser role when it was formed in 1999. However he was instrumental in hiring former Metro managers to key positions, for a later take-over.
Once in control of management, he joined early producer directors in changing the ‘culture’ of WA lamb production to heavy lambs suited to the North American and other prestige global markets. His support for WAMMCO to join as an early member of the Australian Lamb Company based in North America – when money was harder to find – was another example of his foresight.
Mr Griffiths also joined with his then Chairman Dawson Bradford and other WAMMCO Directors in forming early links with the successful Alliance Cooperative in New Zealand which also became a template for the fledgling cooperative in WA.
Mr MacRury said these were improvements that had sustained a lamb quality advance that continued to place WA lamb at the top of premium world values for our product.
He said Des Griffiths was also credited with achieving the ground-breaking enterprise agreement with workers and their unions that allowed WAMMCO to function in this new trading environment, - and indeed to proceed with its own corporate formation.
Des and his management team also led a dramatic upgrade in modernizing WAMMCO”s Katanning plant, researching and installing the world-leading technology that still drives the WA Cooperative.
At the same time he could also be found out in the field at producer field days passing on how they could join the highly profitable new WA push back into heavier, prime quality WA lamb.
Mr MacRury said everyone in the WA meat industry owed a debt of appreciation to Mr Griffiths for his foresight and professional leadership – for his contribution to stability in the workplace, and innovation in global marketing and technology.
The former WAMMCO CEO is survived by his wife Margaret and family.
Further details: Coll MacRury: 0409 371 295
Geoff Gare: 0414 683 531
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