Leadership Team

Hugh Killen

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

Hugh Killen was appointed Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in February 2018. Prior to this, he held the position of Chief Commercial Officer in a consulting capacity assisting AACo’s operations and finance functions.

Hugh is a highly experienced senior executive with over 25 years’ experience in global financial markets and has worked in London, New York and Sydney.

Before joining AACo, Hugh spent 15 years at Westpac Institutional Bank. He held several senior executive roles which included managing Westpac Banking Corporation’s North American business throughout the global financial crisis, and finally as the Managing Director of Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities.

Hugh has also served as a board member of the Association for Financial Markets Global Foreign Exchange Division, the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) Australian Foreign Exchange Committee. Hugh has represented Australia internationally as the RBA appointed member of the BIS Working Group developing the Global Code of Conduct for foreign exchange markets.

Hugh is an alumni of the Kings School, Parramatta and Harvard Business School and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Hugh has a lifelong association with agriculture having being raised on pastoral properties in northern NSW and south-west Queensland, and has retained strong personal involvement in the industry through private investments in farming.

Nigel Simonsz

Chief Financial Officer

Nigel Simonsz was appointed Chief Financial Officer in August 2018.

Prior to joining AACo, Nigel held a number of executive roles with LSE-listed consumer goods organisation, PZ Cussons, where he was a member of the Group Operational Board and served in a number of senior positions, including CFO Australia/NZ and Global Finance Director. He also held executive leadership responsibility as regional CEO for Africa and as CEO of the Australia/NZ business.

Nigel previously held a number of senior financial roles with leading international food group General Mills, as well as in BHP’s corporate and operating divisions.

Nigel has over 25 years’ experience in global consumer goods and industrials businesses, including extensive experience in the food sector across diverse geographical markets in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa and Europe.

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Economics, and is a member of CPA Australia.

Andrew O’Brien

Chief Commercial Officer

Andrew was appointed Chief Commercial Officer in January 2019.

He joins AACo from ASX-listed Treasury Wine Estates, where he spent almost a decade in senior roles with responsibility for the commercial, marketing and sales functions in a diversity of markets spanning TWE’s worldwide business. He most recently served as executive vice president of the Americas, where he oversaw the growth of the business in the key US, Canadian, as well as South American markets. Andrew was previously based in Singapore, where he oversaw over 44 markets across SE Asia, Japan, Korea, India, Africa and the Middle East. Andrew was previously a general manager for Fosters Group and Southcorp Wines, focused on the Australasian markets.

Andrew is a graduate of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Anna Speer

Chief Operating Officer – Pastoral

Anna Speer was appointed Chief Operating Officer in August 2018.

Prior to joining AACo, Anna was CEO of AuctionsPlus, where she was responsible for growing the business into Australia’s largest marketplace for livestock, facilitating the exchange of over $830 million in livestock each year. Anna was previously General Manager of agricultural technology firm, Livestock Exchange. She has deep experience in the pastoral industry, including as Stud Registrar of Consolidated Pastoral Company’s Newcastle Waters station.

She holds a Bachelor of Science, as well as a Bachelor of Primary and Secondary Education, as well as being a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the University of Sydney’s Global Executive MBA program.

Bruce Bennett

Company Secretary & General Counsel

Bruce Bennett was appointed Company Secretary and Legal Counsel of AACo in 2006. Before joining AACo, he was a partner in a leading law firm, specialising in company and property law, mergers and acquisitions and other commercial contracts.

Bruce has over 18 years experience in legal practice, having practiced in both Queensland and New South Wales. Bruce is an associate member of the Chartered Secretaries of Australia.

David Harris

Chief Operating Officer – Supply Chain

David Harris was appointed to the role of Chief Operating Officer – Supply Chain in March 2020. Prior to his appointment, Dave was working with AACo from 2016 in a contracted capacity reporting to the CEO and Board of Directors to improve operational aspects of the business.

With extensive supply chain experience across various aspects of Australian agriculture, Dave has developed a broad depth of knowledge in the operation of large-scale intensive animal production systems, having previously held executive positions with Stanbroke, Smithfield Cattle Co. and running his private agricultural consultancy business and family farming operations in central west, New South Wales. He understands the importance of optimising and making value chains more efficient and sustainable with a verifiable track record of building & operating agricultural supply chains and infrastructure projects. As an Executive, Dave is experienced in the development and implementation of strategies and business plans focused on achieving improved profitability, efficiency and value creation in new products. He understands dynamic vertically integrated supply chains and the challenges that face businesses delivering a consistent product with variable production.

Dave holds a Bachelor of Rural Science from the University of New England specializing in ruminant nutrition and meat science.