The Board comprises up to nine directors who are appointed, in accordance with sections 17 and 77 of the Primary Industries Research and Development Act 1989 (the PIRD Act), as follows:

  • The Chair is selected and appointed by the Minister
  • The Managing Director is selected and appointed by the Board on terms and conditions determined by the Board.
  • The other directors are appointed by the Minister on the nomination of a selection committee. The Minister appoints the selection committee based on the nominations of the FRDC's representative organisations.

List of current Directors

  • Mr John Williams - Chair
  • Professor Colin Buxton
  • Dr Patrick Hone - Managing Director
  • Dr Kate Brooks,
  • Dr Saranne Cooke,
  • Ms Katina (Katie) Hodson-Thomas
  • Mr Mark King,
  • Mr John Lloyd,
  • Dr Lesley MacLeod.           

Directors are selected based on their expertise in one or more of the following fields:

  • commodity production,
  • commodity processing,
  • commodity marketing,
  • conservation of natural resources,
  • management of natural resources,
  • science,
  • technology and technology transfer,
  • environmental and ecological matters,
  • economics,
  • administration of research and development,
  • finance,
  • business management
  • communication
  • government policy and public administration.

Directors are appointed for a term not exceeding three years. The Executive Director, holds office at the Board´s pleasure. All directors other than the Executive Director are appointed on a part-time basis.

The board engages regularly with the FRDC stakeholders.

John Williams: Chair,

Appointed Chair from 10 March 2020.

John Williams was elected to Federal Parliament in 2007 as Senator for NSW and was sworn in on 26 August 2008.

John was born in Jamestown SA but has lived most of his life in the Inverell district in the New England region of NSW. Prior to entering politics, he had been a truck driver, shearer, farmer and a small business owner.

With this background, John understands regional Australia and the issues small business operators deal with every day. John is a strong advocate for the reduction of red tape in small business to allow businesses to not only survive and compete but to grow and prosper. His vision is for regional Australia to obtain adequate funding to maintain rural communities and facilities and maintain the way of life so many people enjoy.

Professor Colin Buxton: Deputy Chair, Director (reappointed)

Appointed Deputy Chair  from 5 February 2019.

Appointed  Director from 10 October 2018

Colin Buxton is an independent director and principal consultant at Colin Buxton & Associates. In 2014 he retired as Director of the Fisheries, Aquaculture and Coasts Centre at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania (UTAS), where he is now Adjunct Professor. Colin has held senior management positions at the Port Elizabeth Museum, Rhodes University and the Australian Maritime College, as well as being the inaugural director of the Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute at UTAS. A fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, he has served of the board of several organisations including the Aquaculture, Finfish and Seafood CRCs, Southern Rock Lobster Ltd (chair) and the Tasmanian Environment Protection Authority.  He is also chair of the National Fisheries Advisory Council and serves on the Tasmanian Marine Farming Review Panel.  Colin has a broad knowledge and experience in coastal marine environments, fisheries and aquaculture and is a frequent consultant and advisor to government and industry in Australia, Africa and the United States. A graduate of the University of Cape Town (Masters) and Rhodes University (PhD), he is internationally recognised and has published widely on his work on the life histories and effects of exploitation on reef fishes. Much of his research has been focused on understanding the role of Marine Protected Areas as a conservation and fisheries management tool.

Dr Patrick Hone: Managing Director

Appointed Managing Director from 21 April 2005

Patrick Hone is Managing Director of the FRDC and a member of the National Marine Science Committee. Patrick has extensive knowledge of all sectors of the fishing and aquaculture industries. He has more than 20 years working for the FRDC and has played a key role in the planning, management and funding of fishing and aquaculture related research, development and extension in Australia. In recent years Patrick has become one of Australia’s leading spokespeople on the role of marine science.

Patrick has a PhD from Adelaide University, and previously worked for SARDI on a wide range of aquaculture research for Southern Bluefin Tuna, Pacific Oysters, mussels, Yellowtail Kingfish and abalone.

Dr Kate Brooks: Director

Appointed  Director from 10 October 2018

Kate Brooks is an established Consulting Sociologist, working almost exclusively in the fishing and seafood industry and related areas, since 2007. She is an experienced Executive and Non-Executive Director, and internationally recognised social researcher in the area of marine and natural resource management and reputational risk. For over 20 years she has collaborated with clients across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Dubai, Europe and the UK. Her application of intellectual rigor and curiosity to planning and implementation is focused on delivering strategically sustainable development and growth. 

Kate has worked with the seafood industry since 2000, when she joined the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, subsequent to a career in marketing and corporate affairs. She holds a Masters in social impact assessment, and a PhD in social capital, both with the focus on supporting and developing community and industry. In that time, she has played a key role in bringing the social dimension to triple bottom approaches in the management of fisheries and the seafood industry as a whole.

Dr Saranne Cooke: Director

Appointed  Director from 10 October 2018

Saranne Cooke is a professional director and chair with experience on a variety of boards across the education, health, sport, superannuation and not-for-profit sectors. Saranne is a Charles Sturt University Council Member, Racing NSW Board Member, HESTA Trustee Board member, Director of the Western NSW Primary Health Network, Director of Leading Age Services Australia, and the inaugural Chair of the Western Region NSW Committee of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Prior to her career as a professional director, Saranne held a number of senior roles within energy, banking, education and manufacturing industries. Saranne holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Master of Business (Marketing), and a Master of Commercial Law. She is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow Certified Practising Accountant, a Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute, a Certified Practising Marketer and a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. Saranne has recently submitted a PhD in Board Governance across the ASX200 companies.

Ms Katie Hodson-Thomas: Director

Appointed  Director from 10 October 2018

Katie Hodson-Thomas represented the Western Australian metropolitan electorate of Carine from 1996 – 2008.  During her time in parliament she served as a Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health; held shadow portfolio responsibilities for transport, tourism, small business, environment, and road safety; and was Deputy Chair of the Community Development and Justice Standing Committee. After retiring from parliament, she joined several membership-based industry associations holding senior positions.  Prior to joining FTI Consulting in 2012 she ran her own consultancy practice specialising in government relations.  Katie was elected as the first female independent Chair of Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) at the 2017 Annual General Meeting; is a Member of the Western Australian Gaming and Wagering Commission; and has served as a Justice of the Peace since 1997.

Mr Mark King: Director

Appointed  Director from 10 October 2018

Mark King is a third generation dried fruit grower and has a 100 hectares family farm growing sultanas and currants at Pomona, which is irrigated from the Darling River. Pomona is located in the far south west corner of NSW, and is 50kms from South Australia and close to the Victorian boarder. Mark grew up on the Darling River and has witnessed the many changes to river health and irrigation demands. He is a former Councilor and Deputy Mayor of the Wentworth Shire council and was a former Chair of the lower Murray Darling Catchment Management Authority from 2000 to 2012. During this time he had undertaken many projects that explored river and fish health in the Darling and Murray Rivers. Mark is now the current chair of Dried Fruits Australia which is the peak industry body, and has held this position for 9 years. He is also a current board member of National Farmers Federation.  Mark has had experience with industry and a range of Government Boards and Authorities.  Mark ventured into Aquaculture in 2012 growing murray cod, and silver and yellow belly perch within a dam system. With aquaculture growing in the surrounding area (Sunraysia), Mark sees this as a sustainable way to meet the growing demand for fish, without affecting wild fish numbers.
Mark is looking forward to the challenges that FRDC presents.

Mr John Lloyd: Director

Appointed  Director from 10 October 2018

John Lloyd is the former CEO of Horticulture Innovation Australia/HAL leading both organisations over a nine year period of significant growth, change and transition. He is a current director of Agribusiness Australia and Menari Business Solutions Pty Ltd. Recently relocating to Orange NSW, he and his family run a small agricultural enterprise at Borenore. John’s career has spanned most parts of the Australian agribusiness sector with senior leadership positions including Managing Director Case IH/New Holland ANZ; General Manager Commercial Incitec Pivot; and General Manager Merchandise Wesfarmers Dalgety. More recently John has lead a significant restructure of the research corporation for the $10 Billion horticulture sector, creating new funding models that have catered for its longer term strategic issues as well as accessing broader and non-traditional sources of investment. These issues include Asian export markets, biosecurity, health and nutrition, pollination, major pests, intensive farming systems and urban greening. John has a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of NSW as well as an MBA from Macquarie University. 

Dr Lesley MacLeod: Director (reappointed)

Appointed  Director from 10 October 2018

Lesley MacLeod is the former CEO of Dairy Innovation Australia and a former board member of Murray Dairy, Barley Australia and MBQIP Ltd. Lesley is currently a non-executive director with Agriculture Victoria Services Pty Ltd. Educated in Edinburgh, Scotland, Lesley has a first class honours degree in marine biology and PhD from Heriot-Watt University. Following a 12-year research career in Edinburgh and Adelaide focusing on grains research, Lesley moved into industry in Victoria where she gained over 20 years’ experience in senior agribusiness management for Australian and multinational companies. Lesley has a focus on research management, innovation and commercialisation and has established a number of national R&D programs and not-for-profit companies. She has a Diploma in Business Management and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.