Former Nufarm boss Doug Rathbone.THE changing guard at Nufarm has attracted strong interest in the agribusiness sector, with fertiliser and explosives business boss James Fazzino at Incitec Pivot noting his admiration for the retiring Doug Rathbone.

Nufarm chief executive and managing director Mr Rathbone stepped down from his roles on February 4 after leading the company for 15 years. He will receive a termination payment of $1,643,193 plus statutory entitlements.

“As a chief executive officer, when you look back, ultimately you want to stand and say: what have you built? Look at what Doug has achieved,” Mr Fazzino said.

“He’s taken a very small crop protection company and turned it into a globally significant one”.

Agribusiness investment advisor David Williams at Kidder Williams, said Mr Rathbone’s relentless travel habits had allowed him to steal a march on the competition.

“He put a lot of leather on the pavement. There are numerous acquisitions where major ag chemical companies didn’t know businesses were for sale and Doug bought them,” Mr Williams said.

Tassal Group chairman Allan McCallum described the Nufarm veteran as an “an inspiring person who enthuses people”.

Incitec’s Mr Fazzino noted “industries need people like Doug Rathbone”.

“He’s built a pretty amazing business and makes pretty good wine, too,” he said.

However, the Rathbone Wine Group, which includes Yering Station, Xanadu and Mount Langi Ghiran, has been a drain on Mr Rathbone’s personal cash reserves.

Last year he sold $31m worth of Nufarm stock to shore up the wine business, which was under pressure from financier ANZ Bank.

He said he planned to continue helping out in the vineyard business, run by his son Darren, but in his new freed-up role he was also looking forward to spending time with his boating interests, which include owning a marina.

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