GrainCorp chief executive quits after takeover blocked

Alison Watkins
Image caption Ms Watkins said she had planned to leave the firm at the completion of the takeover deal

The chief executive of GrainCorp, Alison Watkins, has quit just days after Australia blocked a takeover bid for the company.

US conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) had offered $3.4bn ($3.1bn; £1.9bn) to take over the firm.

But treasurer Joe Hockey blocked the deal, saying an acquisition "would not be in our national interest".

Ms Watkins said she had already planned to "leave the company at the time control passed over to ADM".

"I have carefully weighed my options over the past two days," Ms Watkins said.

"Given last week's unexpected developments, I feel it is in the best interests of GrainCorp, our people and customers that I move on now and allow the board to find new leadership to take the business forward into its new phase."

GrainCorp is Australia's biggest grain merchant. ADM already owns about 20% of the firm.

As he blocked the takeover bid, Mr Hockey was quoted as saying by the Australian Broadcast Corporation that "now is not the right time for a 100% foreign acquisition of this key Australian business".

He said the industry was "going through transition" and it was not the right time to have the "major players foreign-owned".

GrainCorp's shares fell 3.5% in Sydney on Monday on the news of Ms Watkins leaving the firm.

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