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New appointment for key Geographical Indications role

The Australian wine sector has a new guardian of its regional integrity.

After 10 years, senior Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation executive Ernie Sullivan has relinquished his part time role as Registrar of Protected Names to become the AWBC’s full-time Chief Financial Officer.

The new Registrar is the AWBC’s longstanding Corporation Secretary, Jock Osborne. He will formally take over on January 15 and will serve in the associated role of Secretary to the Geographical Indications Committee (GIC).

Corporation Chief Executive Sam Tolley said the personnel changes would achieve better operational efficiency for the Corporation at a time when the wine sector was experiencing tougher trading conditions.

“For a decade, Ernie has filled the roles of Chief Financial Officer and Registrar of Protected Names with distinction. However, changes in our executive duties make it more practical for Jock to take on a dual role from next year,” Mr Tolley said. “Ernie previously was supported by a Financial Controller, but that position recently became vacant and won’t be filled –requiring Ernie to move full time into the senior financial management role.”

“I know Jock will take on this added role with his usual commitment, efficiency and eye for detail – but he’s got a tough act to follow. Ernie has been synonymous with the development of the GI system since 1996 and he can take a great deal of credit for its success and the high regard in which it is held, both here and overseas,” Mr Tolley said.

“Operational efficiency is vital for all the industry in the current climate, and we feel that the Chief Financial Officer really should be a full-time position in an organisation the size of ours with about 50 full time staff in Adelaide in addition to seven overseas offices, trading under the Wine Australia name.”

“I know the members of the GIC hold Ernie in the highest regard, as do those in the industry who have often called up for advice or information. In many ways, Ernie has been the ‘face’ of the GI process.”

Since Mr Sullivan took over as Registrar, the GIC has made determinations on 77 zones, regions and sub-regions — with only two appeals being heard by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Since the introduction of the GI system in 1994, a total of 99 GIs (comprising 28 zones, 60 regions and 11 sub-regions) have been finalised.

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