22nd January 2024
At the December meeting of the Board of Directors, Dr Jean Claude Autrey informed us that he is stepping down as Chair and retiring from Bonsucro in January.
After devoting some 56 years to advancement of science and technology especially in sugarcane nationally in Mauritius, regionally in Africa and internationally across many countries, Dr Autrey regretfully decided to gradually phase out his activities in sugarcane technology, academia, agriculture R&D as well as his participation in learned societies, professional bodies, regional and international organizations. Consequently, he would not be able to serve as Chair of Bonsucro, a position he has held since 2019.
The Board members and I expressed gratitude to the Chair for his deep involvement and dedication to Bonsucro, our regrets at his resignation and emphasized that his broad knowledge of sugarcane and his sound judgement would be missed. Melanie Rutten-Suelz, the Vice-Chair, will take on additional responsibilities until a new Chair is appointed.
Dr. Autrey has been a friend and highly valued long-term supporter of Bonsucro, and key to its growth over the years. He first became involved with Bonsucro in January 2006 (then called the Better Sugarcane Initiative) at the inaugural meeting of the steering committee, sponsored by WWF and held in London.
Over the years he helped build relationships between Bonsucro and the sugarcane sector globally and especially in Southern/Eastern Africa. He served as Chair of the Technical Advisory Board from 2017 to 2019, and in 2019 he stepped into the role of Chair of the Board of Directors. Throughout his tenure, Bonsucro has grown significantly, worked through challenges such as the global pandemic and successfully delivered a new strategic plan and production standard. Dr Autrey retires from Bonsucro leaving behind a positive and lasting impact on the sugarcane sector about which he is so passionate.
Also, I would like to share that at the December meeting of the Technical Advisory Board, Dr. Allsopp informed that owing to his commitments to various organisations including the International Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists, and his research activities, he did no longer has enough time to devote to Bonsucro and therefore decided not to renew his mandate at the end of his current term as Chair of TAB which expired December.
Dr. Allsopp served as Chair of the TAB from 2019 to 2023 and helped to steer Bonsucro through the development of the new Production Standard and the new strategic plan, amongst other matters and developments.
We will miss their wise counsel and unwavering support on the Board. We thank them for their years of service to Bonsucro and sustainability in the global sugarcane sector and wish them all the best for the future. Bonsucro will be recruiting for a new Chair of the Board and Chair of the TAB over the coming weeks and will keep you updated in that regard.