Brett Fifield Hort Innovation CEO

Hort Innovation has announced the appointment of Brett Fifield as its new chief executive, effective 26 April.

Fifield joins Hort Innovation from his current role as the deputy director general, infrastructure, investment and business development, and member of the executive leadership team at the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.

He will replace outgoing chief executive Matt Brand, who announced his resignation pending the appointment of a replacement in November 2021, after three years in the role.

Hort Innovation chair, Julie Bird, said the board was delighted to have a candidate of Fifield’s calibre and diverse experience as the new chief executive.

“With a strong pool of qualified candidates and a competitive recruitment process, the board is confident that Brett is the perfect choice to take Hort Innovation to the next phase of strategic development, and enhanced culture and stakeholder experience,” Bird said.

'Brett’s leadership, and broad industry expertise across R&D, stakeholder engagement and innovation will be an asset to lead Hort Innovation toward the government's Ag2030 vision of growing agriculture to A$100bn in value.”

Fifield said he was thrilled to be joining the Hort Innovation team and looked forward to working closely with, and supporting, the horticulture industry.

“Horticulture's great diversity comes with great opportunity; and it will be a privilege to work across the breadth of Australian horticulture,” Fifield said.

“In this rapidly changing world, Hort Innovation’s role is more important than ever and so is its commitment to innovation and collaboration.'

“We have a firm responsibility to deliver real impact for growers and those across the supply chain. As a major research and development corporation, our work in partnership with industry will be pivotal to Australian horticulture’s success.”

Fifield grew up on a mixed farm near Wagga Wagga and following an early career as a journalist, Fifield has more than 20 years’ experience in agriculture including ten years in senior executive roles.

He has worked across agriculture, biosecurity, food safety, fisheries, policy and cabinet, business performance, communications and engagement.

Fifield has specific experience and expertise in stakeholder engagement and communications with industry across diverse topics – including infrastructure, industry development, research and development, adoption and extension, regulatory affairs and industry assistance – which makes him ideally positioned to lead Hort Innovation into the future.