Taljaard swaps Grain SA for Canada

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On 3 July Grain SA announced the resignation of Dr Pieter Taljaard as CEO of the organisation. Taljaard is heading to Canada where he will be managing a vertically integrated grain and oilseed farm on the eastern border of Saskatchewan. He plans on leaving Grain SA by the end of the month.

“It’s been a hard and sad decision, but at this stage of my career it’s really the last opportunity given my age, I’m turning 45 next month, to go on an adventure like this. Especially also given that we can experience this as a family together with our two teenage children,” Taljaard wrote on Grain SA’s website.

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Taljaard became the organisation’s CEO in September 2021, when he took over the reins from Jannie de Villiers. “It has been a great privilege and experience to be Grain SA’s CEO. It was indeed an enjoyable learning curve, and I met a lot of new people and made a lot of new friends.”

Derek Mathews, Grain SA’s chairperson, said the news of Taljaard’s departure was a shock to the entire board. “However, we do understand and accept that he and his family need to do what is right for them and that it is a great opportunity for them. Canada’s gain is most certainly Grain SA and South Africa’s loss. We will miss his contribution.”

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The road ahead for Grain SA

A committee was appointed by Grain SA’s board to search for the best candidate to take over the role of CEO. “Grain SA has talented and exceptionally committed personnel and I’m confident that we will manage this transition and continue to serve our members at the same level of professionalism and care we have all become accustomed to.”

One thing Mathews has learned from Taljaard is to look for the opportunity in every situation. “This positive characteristic is scary at times. No person or organisation can grow in a comfort zone. We will have to find the best person to lead us into the next chapter of this organisation we have all come to love.”

Mathews said GSA is built on very solid foundations and therefore the organisation will withstand these winds of change, even when they blow as hard and fast as they are now.

Taljaard said given the restructuring that Grain SA was forced to undergo over the last two years due to tax laws and regulations, this was a unique opportunity for them to think differently on how best to drive its value proposition. “This a chance to reflect on Grain SA’s role and responsibilities, not only to its grain and oilseed producers, but also in the broader organized agriculture fraternity, the food and fibre value chain, as well as society at large.” – Susan Marais, AgriOrbit

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