The retirement of Professor John Morris, the inaugural director of Rabobanks’ Executive Development Programme for Primary Producers, marks the end of an ispirational era.
The EDPPP programme started in 1999. The 15th class graduated on Thursday evening and the celebration dinner was also an opportunity to pay tribute to John.
He grew up in Canterbury and graduated from Lincoln with a B Ag Sci. He then gained an MBA in marketing and finance from Cranfield School of Management and a PhD in food marketing from Cornell University. His business and academic career has included extensive international experience in retailing and food marketing and professorships of food marketing at leading universities.
He always retained a love of farming and rapport with farmers. Add to this a quick wit, an enviable ability to remember names and to make everyone he talked to feel valued and it would be difficult to find anyone better to start and develop the EDPPP.
Counting graduates isn’t hard – there’s been 450 of them – quantifying the positive difference the course has made on their lives and businesses would be much more difficult but there is no doubt it is significant.
Those 449 Australian and New Zealand, and one Dutch, graduates would be the first to say they and their businesses would not be where they are today without what they learned during the programme and that John played a very important role in it.
He will be missed but he won’t be forgotten. On Thursday Neil Dobbin, Group Executive Country Banking for Rabobank Australia and New Zealand announced that the award for the best project which participants complete between the programme’s two modules will now be known as the Dr John Morris prize.
You can read more about the EDPPP here. The programme will continue with Angus Taylor as director.