New CEO appointed

The Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Leanne Erakovic as its new Chief Executive Officer, following the retirement of Jim Pekin. 

Leanne’s appointment follows a lengthy and thorough selection process, managed by a specialist recruitment firm. She has been with the ABGC for the past six years, in the role of Executive Officer.

ABGC Chair Stephen Lowe welcomed the appointment and said he had no doubt Leanne was well equipped to advocate and represent industry, ensuring the long-term sustainability for all growers and the wider industry.

“We had a very strong field of highly experienced applicants to choose from and Leanne is an outstanding choice for this role,” Mr Lowe said.

“Leanne brings a wealth of experience from both working with the ABGC for the past six years and her business background. We are confident she has the expertise and vision to lead the ABGC and the banana industry into the future.”

Leanne has over two decades of experience in management and business development, previously holding senior roles with strategic workplace consultancies.  Her industry expertise spans stakeholder engagement, project management, and strategic planning.

Leanne has a Bachelor Degree in Science and she also owned and operated two small businesses early in her career.

“The ABGC is in great shape and I’m looking forward to continuing to work with members, many of whom I already know, and staff to ensure the ABGC continues to deliver outcomes that will improve the sustainability and profitability of the banana industry well into the future,” she said.

“Over the past six years I have been an active advocate for banana growers in my role as Executive Officer and I look forward to continuing this close relationship with members and industry at large.”

Leanne will succeed the position from CEO Jim Pekin, who has led the ABGC over the past 11 years, from 17 November 2022.


Leanne joined ABGC in 2015 as Office Manager and has worked alongside CEO, Jim Pekin, and the Board as Executive Officer of the ABGC since 2016.  Leanne has played a crucial role in the leadership of ABGC, alongside Mr Pekin. She has supervised the management of the banana industry’s first Panama TR4 infested property in Far North Queensland and helped coordinate ABGC’s successful feral pig control program in TR4 hotspots. Leanne has advocated extensively for banana growers, most recently working closely with members, Government and industry partners on worker access issues.