AWRI appoints new managing director

Australia’s key wine research organisation, the Australian Wine Research Institute, has appointed Dr Dan Johnson as its new managing director.

Johnson will take over from Dr Sakkie Pretorius, who was recently appointed deputy vice chancellor of Research and Innovation at The University of South Australia, on 1 December, 2011.

For the past five years, Johnson has held the position of AWRI general manager – business development and has been responsible for the management of AWRI’s commercial affairs and business relationships.

In announcing Johnson’s appointment today, AWRI board chairman Peter Daw said Johnson’s understanding of the Australian wine sector combined with his business and science skills made him a stand-out candidate.

“The board believes that under Dr Johnson’s leadership, combined with a continued focus on world-class research, the AWRI will be best placed to continue to lift its delivery of value to the Australian wine industry. We are delighted to appoint Dr Johnson to the role,” Daw said.

In accepting the new role, Johnson said, “While science is in my heart, the numbers are in my head. If there is one issue that unites the Australian wine sector, that issue is economic reality. In my new role as managing director of the AWRI, I recognise the significance of this issue and the need for Australia’s wine industry and its value chain to generate competitive advantage through technical innovation.”

Pretorius has been AWRI managing director for the past seven years.

He said he was proud of what had been achieved in the wine sector and was looking forward to embarking on a new career with the university.

“I have been given the opportunity to join The University of South Australia in a position where I hope to make a significant contribution as Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice President: Research and Innovation,” Pretorius said.

Daw, who announced Pretorius’ departure from the AWRI in July this year, said Pretorius would be missed.

“The AWRI board is grateful for Sakkie’s leadership and his passion for the Australian wine industry. Sakkie leaves the AWRI in a very strong position where it can continue to deliver outcomes for the benefit of grape and wine producers,” Daw said.