• Text Resizer Plus  Text Resizer Minus
  • Printer Friendly

Board of Directors

Agribio Board of Directors

The Biosciences Research Centre Board (Agribio) comprises six Directors, three nominated by the Victorian Government and three nominated by La Trobe University.

The independent Chairman is selected by agreement of both the shareholders.

The Board meets regularly through the year and provides guidance to the Joint Venture Executive Officer on the management of AgriBio.


The Chairman of AgriBio is:


Dr Kenneth V Loughnan AO

Dr Kenneth V Loughnan AO

Ken is a senior International Company Chairman with extensive experience in Chairing Boards in both the public and private sectors around the world. His international appointments across some 15 countries, have included Chairs of entities in the US, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, India, South Asia, North Asia, NZ and the Pacific Region.

Over the past 20 years, his Chairman appointments have spanned agriculture, telecommunications, advanced technologies, labour hire, recruitment, contract management, call centres, manufacturing, automotive, environmental science, waste management, clean carbon applications, and international trade as well as global security and threat assessment.

Ken has also performed the role of Chairman of a range of organizations in the public sector where he has a passion for driving improvement, efficiency and effective utilization of technologies. His many appointments have included Emergency Service Organisations (police, fire, ambulance & rescue), Defence, Agriculture and Gaming.


The Directors are:


Dr Amanda Caples

Dr Amanda Caples

Victoria’s Lead Scientist
Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
Victorian State Government

Dr Amanda Caples (BSc Hons PhD GAICD) is Victoria’s Lead Scientist, a ‘catalyst’ responsible for working across the Victorian Government to identify opportunities for economic outcomes by building relationships between business, the research sector and government. Amanda brings to the role broad experience in technology commercialisation, public policy development and governance of public and private entities.

Amanda joined the Victorian public service in 2002 as the inaugural Director of Biotechnology and subsequently was appointed as the Executive Director Science and Technology and Deputy Secretary Sector Development and Programs to drive the state's science agenda. In these roles, Amanda has led the development of industry sector strategy plans, delivered research-led health initiatives, regulatory and legislative scientific reforms and established international business development and research alliances. Amanda has worked with Commonwealth agencies on national science and innovation policies and programs, including the Australian Synchrotron and the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme.


Prof Edwina Cornish

Prof Edwina Cornish

Prof Edwina Cornish (BSc Hons PhD, AO, FTSE, Victorian Honour Roll of Women, Centenary Medal,)

Professor Edwina Cornish AO FTSE obtained her PhD for research undertaken in the Biochemistry and Microbiology departments of the University of Melbourne. After working as a post-doctoral fellow in the Botany School of the University of Melbourne she joined the newly established plant biotechnology company Calgene Pacific (later named Florigene). She spent 11 years with the company in various leadership roles including Research Director and Managing Director. Over this period the company developed and commercialised the world’s first genetically engineered flowers.

In 2000 Edwina moved to the University of Adelaide as Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and in 2004 she was appointed to the same role at Monash University. In 2012 Edwina was appointed Monash’s inaugural Provost and Senior Vice-President a position she held until her retirement in 2016.

Edwina has extensive experience at the interface between government, research, industry and the higher education sector, and has held numerous board positions. She is currently a member of the Board of CSIRO and the Council of La Trobe University.


Mr Craig Douglas

Mr Craig Douglas

Craig is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds the following degrees:

  • Bachelor of Economics (majoring in Accounting & Finance) (Monash University)
  • Master of Business Administration (Monash University)

Craig has more than 35 years business experience, including seven years in investment banking and more than three years in the Victorian Public Sector, and at a senior level has undertaken numerous strategic roles including:

  • the provision of commercial, strategic and financial advice;
  • business case development;
  • project structuring; and
  • contract negotiations.

Craig is the owner and Director of a Melbourne based specialist consultancy specialising in providing business strategy, commercial and financial advice to the public and private sectors with an emphasis on infrastructure projects and large commercial transactions.


Ms Robyn Harris

Ms Robyn Harris

Robyn is the Chief Strategy Officer, La Trobe University and in this capacity works closely with the University’s Senior Executive Group and senior leaders across La Trobe to position the University strategically in Victoria, nationally and internationally. Robyn holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts (Hons) from the University of Canterbury. She has extensive experience in planning and governance-related roles at Monash University and Victoria University and in quality management/quality auditing consultancy in various international jurisdictions. She was a National Audit Director in the Australian Universities Quality Agency (2002-2005) and in the New Zealand Academic Audit Unit (Te Wāhanga Tātari) (1999-2001). Robyn’s career started as a research fellow in neurobiology and medical ethics in the Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology at the University of Otago, New Zealand.


Dr Gian Sberna

Dr Gian Sberna

Dr Gian Sberna, (BSc Hons, PhD, MAICD) is a tertiary-qualified senior executive with over 20 years’ management experience in not-for-profit, healthcare, research, higher education, corporate and ASX entities. He has held roles in executive management in the Australian biotechnology and research sectors and as a non-executive director at AgriBio and other not-for-profit boards.

Dr Sberna brings strengths in organisational governance, executive management, strategy, research, facility management and commercialisation to the AgriBio Joint Venture board


Mr Mark Smith

Mr Mark Smith

Mark Smith has been the Chief Financial and Operations Officer of La Trobe University since 2017. He is a senior Corporate Commercial, Finance and Operations Director with extensive experience in leadership, financial analysis, forecasting, profit improvement, strategy development, business development, stakeholder and operations management.

Mark spent the bulk of his career at Accenture in various finance and commercial roles across the world.

He also has experience across a range of industries including facilities management, retail, property development, manufacturing and service delivery.



Alternate Directors –


Mr Lachlan Bruce

Mr Lachlan Bruce

With 20 years of public sector executive experience, six at Deputy Secretary level, Lachlan has held senior executive roles in the Victorian and South Australian Public Services managing major projects and development proposals.

These roles have been focussed on delivering policy and program initiatives, and major infrastructure and change projects and have involved managing large teams, engaging, influencing and leading a diverse range of internal and external stakeholders and remaining commercially astute in all dealings with private sector participants.


Mr Andrew Peacock

Mr Andrew Peacock

Andrew Peacock is the incumbent Director of Strategic Sourcing and Procurement at La Trobe University

Andrew transitioned to Strategic Sourcing and Procurement as a career choice in 2001 within a large European pharmaceutical packaging manufacturer. Since that time Andrew’s career in Strategic Procurement leadership has spanned the UK, New Zealand, Australia and South East Asia. The majority of this experience was gained in Shell New Zealand, Australia and Asia Pacific operating units, primarily in the “downstream” including Shell’s Retail, Corporate Services, Lubricants, Marine, Aviation and Bitumen businesses.
Shell’s divestment of downstream businesses in Australia occurred in 2014 at which point Andrew took up his current role at La Trobe University.

©  State Government of Victoria 1996-2013
Page last updated: 09-Jul-2020