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Linda Sewell resigns from OFO effective this week

Linda Sewell

OneFortyOne Plantations’ CEO Linda Sewell has resigned effective almost immediately. She will finish on Friday. In a statement yesterday board chairman John S Gilleland said the news came with “regret but also great respect and support for Linda in her decision”. Source: Timberbiz

“After nearly eight years of demanding hard work, a challenging pace and thoughtful leadership of the company, Linda has determined it is time for her to embark on a new journey,” the statement said.

The Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub said Ms Sewell had played an instrumental role in the creation of the Hub, working with her industry peers to build a collective and united vision to grow the Green Triangle forest and manufacturing sector.

Hub deputy chair Ian McDonnell said Ms Sewell was a highly respected leader in the forest and timber sector, working proactively during her tenure to build the profile and status of the Green Triangle.

He said Ms Sewell’s “tenacity and enthusiasm” had been pivotal in forming the Hub’s strategic plan, generating realistic objectives to sustainably grow the sector over the next three decades.

“Linda is a highly respected among her peers and will be sorely missed by our board where her strategic leadership was greatly respected,” Mr McDonnell said.

“She has built strong working relationship with all levels of government and global stakeholders to realise local opportunities which will benefit our sector for generations to come.

“Of particular note is her commitment to stewardship. She has been a strong advocate for relishing new education pathways and opportunities for the next generation of Green Triangle foresters and embracing new innovations to future proof the industry; objectives which have been strongly enforced in the Hub’s strategic vision.

“On behalf of the board I wish to thank Linda for her leadership, advocacy and fellowship and wish her every success for her future endeavours.”

The Hub will consider the replacement of the chair position at its September 3 board meeting.

Prior to joining OFO Ms Sewell the CEO of Hancock Victorian Plantations where she had responsibility for the leadership of the company’s softwood and hardwood plantation estate in regional Victoria.

Prior to that, she worked for Carter Holt Harvey for 11 years, nine of which were in New Zealand and was CEO of CHH’s laminated veneer lumber business.

Sewell joined OFO in April 2013, soon after the purchase of the forest estate owned by ForestrySA in South Australia and Victoria, as the first independent CEO of OFO.

Under her leadership and support by the board and shareholders, OFO has grown into a stable, vertically integrated forest products company with significant, high quality forest estates in Australia and New Zealand along with timber processing facilities of the same calibre.

As a part of her role through the years, Ms Sewell has been instrumental within the industry helping to form the Green Triangle Forest Industry Hub, building relationships on behalf of the company and industry with Government, and establishing OFO as a respected operator and partner within the regions it operates.

Andy Giles Knopp will serve as acting CEO, a role Mr Gilleland said to which he was well-suited given his knowledge of OFO’s integrated businesses and his experience since 2016 as OFO’s Chief Financial Officer.

The board will evaluate options over the coming weeks as related to support for the leadership team and the company.