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Crop Trust Executive Board Chair Tim Fischer to step down; Sir Peter Crane elected successor

18 March 2019

Crop Trust Executive Board Chair Tim Fischer to step down; Sir Peter Crane elected successor

18th March 2018 - Bonn, Germany - The Crop Trust Executive Board has unanimously elected Vice Chair, Sir Peter Crane FRS, President of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation, to succeed Tim Fischer AC, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.

Tim joined the Crop Trust in 2013, serving as Vice Chair of the Executive Board until 2017, before becoming Board Chair. He was elected for a second term in 2018 but will step down both as Chair and Board member on 1st April 2019, for health reasons.

“Working with the Crop Trust has been one of the highlights of my career,” said Tim, speaking from his farm in Victoria, Australia. “So, it is with some reluctance that, on the advice of my very able doctors, I will step down as the organization’s Executive Board Chair. As part of my treatment it is recommended that I refrain from international travel for the time being, and step back from various positions I hold.

“In any event, fear not, I will remain active in supporting the work of the Crop Trust to build a rational global system for crop conservation, which has been an inspiration to me for many years and will continue to be into the future. Its vital work is needed more than ever.”

He continued: “The Crop Trust has made huge strides in recent years, under the efforts of my predecessor as Board Chair, Walter Fust, the Executive Board itself and especially all at headquarters. I am confident the organization will achieve much in 2019 and beyond. I strongly welcome the election of Sir Peter Crane as Board Chair, as it means the organization will be in very good hands.

“The world is at a critical juncture when it comes to crop conservation and the plight of biodiversity, and the Crop Trust is needed more than ever before. As famers worldwide wrestle with increasingly unpredictable weather and climate change, and as nations seek sustainable food security, crop diversity is paramount, and this is the Crop Trust’s core dynamic,” he added.

Crop Trust Executive Director, Marie Haga, said: “It’s been a pleasure and an honor to work so closely with Tim for so many years. We’ve all been energized by his passion, incredibly sharp mind and reliably quick wit. On behalf of everyone at the Crop Trust, we wish him a swift recovery and hope he can pay us a visit during our Executive Board meeting in October 2019.”

“We’re very grateful to Sir Peter Crane for his support over the years, and look forward to welcoming him to the position of Executive Board Chair. We could not have hoped for a more competent and experienced successor to Tim.”

Sir Peter Crane FRS is President of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation in the United States. He was formerly the Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. Earlier in his career he was Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London, and also served as Director of the Field Museum in Chicago. He is best known for his work on the origin and early evolution of flowering plants based on studies of the plant fossil record, but has been actively involved in issues of plant conservation for more than thirty years. His popular writing includes Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot, a book that traces the evolution and cultural history of ginkgo over the past 200 million years.

Sir Peter served on the Crop Trust Executive Board from 2007-2012, before returning in 2014.

“The Crop Trust works on issues that are important to all of us, and to which I have dedicated much of my professional career,” said Sir Peter said. “Conserving and using crop diversity is vital to the future of food so the opportunity to support the work of the Crop Trust team is both an honor and an important responsibility. I look forward to carrying on the great work done by Tim Fischer and I wish Tim a full and speedy recovery.”

The next meeting of the Crop Trust Executive Board will be held at Oak Spring Garden, Virginia, US, in early May 2019.

Background: Tim Fischer AC has been a long supporter of the work of the Crop Trust and humanitarian causes. He began his political career in 1971, after returning from deployment in Vietnam where he was as an officer in the Australian Army. He was a New South Wales Parliamentarian (1971–1984) and later an Australian Parliamentarian (1984–2001). Throughout the 1990s, he was the head of the National Party of Australia.

During this time, he also served as Minister for Trade and Deputy Prime Minister in the Howard Government, holding both positions from 1996 to 1999. He then served as Chairman of the Crawford Fund (2001–2006), supporting international agricultural research. He is also a consultant, author, broadcaster, former Ambassador in Rome and Envoy to the Himalayan Nation of Bhutan, Eritrea and South Sudan.


Additional information

The Crop Trust is an international organisation that is working to support crop conservation in genebanks, forever. It supports international genebanks, national genebanks and the world’s backup facility, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The Crop Trust allocates funds to support genebanks through the Crop Diversity Endowment Fund – a self-sustaining fund that generates investment income to support crop conservation. The Crop Trust is  recognised as an essential element of the funding strategy of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.  Like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

Categories: For The Press, Press Releases

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