Last year, Northern New South Wales-based meat processor Bindaree Beef merged with leading exporter Sanger Australia (Sanger) to create an industry powerhouse called the Bindaree Beef Group (BBG). The move formalised a more than 25-year relationship between the two companies, and presents new opportunities for worldwide growth and expansion.

James Campbell was appointed to lead Sanger, responsible for sales, marketing, and distribution of Bindaree Beef product, in conjunction with the established protein trading business which underpinned Sanger’s success since it commenced in 1973.

James became familiar with the strategy of BBG when senior BBG executives were engaged in locating a strategic investor in China, where he was living and working as ANZ bank’s head of agribusiness, China. He says he could see that there was great potential in the newly formed Bindaree Beef Group and that he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get involved. “It was an exciting prospect. I could see that, thanks to the merger, Bindaree had established control of a supply chain which would be further enhanced by the introduction of capital and a strategic relationship with a major local player that could support a long-term strategic play in China, a place I was familiar with. By leveraging what the two businesses did in Australia, and by having an integrated supply chain, I could see that there was plenty of opportunity for great success.”

In August 2015, James took up the position of CEO at Sanger and quickly got to work familiarising himself with the organisation. His first point of focus was to simply listen and learn. “I really wanted to understand the business,” he explains. “I came from a professional background where I was involved in understanding as much as I possibly could about a business in order to make corporate decisions. Coming into Bindaree and being very focused on one industry—as opposed to many businesses across several industries, which I had done in the past—was very interesting. When I first accepted the job and I was going through the deliberations of taking the role, the one thing that was in my mind was: How can I contribute quickly? I wanted to be able to measure my contribution from early on.”