AUSTRALIAN Banana Growers' Council CEO Jim Pekin is retiring after 11 years in the job.
With an agricultural career spanning more than four decades in both the private and government sectors; Mr Pekin will step away from his role in November.
Mr Pekin was appointed to the role in the wake of Cyclone Yasi in 2011 where he has remained since.
The announcement was made by ABGC chair Stephen Lowe today.
"Jim has been advocating for those who grow Australia's favourite fruit for more than a decade," Mr Lowe said.
"He was appointed in the role in the wake of Cyclone Yasi in 2011 and has worked tirelessly on behalf of commercial banana growers since."
Mr Pekin successfully represented the banana industry through both strategy and advocacy on relevant industry issues for the past decade.
He also played a key role in the eradication of Banana Freckle in the Northern Territory and the containment of TR4 in Queensland.
Mr Lowe said Mr Pekin will be sorely missed.
"I've seen first-hand the amount of time, passion and effort he has put into this industry behind the scenes," Mr Lowe said.
"He will leave behind a remarkable legacy, particularly his key role in the management of TR4 in Queensland and the eradication of Banana Freckle in the Northern Territory.
"He assisted the ABGC board in the purchase of the first TR4 infested property in Queensland, to effectively contain and manage the spread of the disease.
"He then assisted in the development and implementation of an effective government-funded TR4 biosecurity program that has helped protect industry from rapid spread of the disease since it was first detected in the Tully Valley in 2015."
Mr Lowe said the retiring CEO always put growers first.
"Jim has consistently advocated for better outcomes for growers and has helped move towards a stronger, more sustainable future," he said.
Mr Pekin said it had been a privilege to get to know, learn from and work with board members and other banana growers.
"Australian banana growers are world leaders at what they do, and I thank them for being so generous with their time, knowledge and friendliness," he said.
"When I retire in November I will miss the banana industry, which I am very passionate about. It is such an incredibly vibrant industry."
Mr Lowe noted Mr Pekin will continue to run ABGC for the next six months to provide oversight and assistance on a range of industry development projects and services.
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