Brownes Dairy appoints first female CEO in 135-year history

Tuesday, 22 June, 2021

Brownes Dairy appoints first female CEO in 135-year history

Brownes Dairy has appointed its first ever female CEO, Natalie Sarich-Dayton, heralding changes at the factory gate for the WA company.

Sarich-Dayton becomes the first female CEO to lead the company in its 135-year history, previously serving as Brownes’ Director of Sales and Marketing.

“Brownes Dairy is a remarkable company with a thirst for product and brand innovation. Everyone in the business genuinely believes in our mission of “doing dairy better, together”, and I’m excited to take the reins as CEO and continue our tradition of nourishing Australian families with the best range of high-quality dairy products,” Sarich-Dayton said.

With two decades of experience in the international food and beverage industry, Sarich-Dayton was a driving force behind Brownes Dairy’s return of the ‘Milkos’ home delivery service, which became a lifeline to the WA community during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The service won national and international accolades, including a Gold trophy in the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, as well as Social Idea of the Year in the annual Mumbrella Awards and “best COVID Pivot” by the Australian Financial Review.

Her appointment comes after Tony Girgis steps down from the role after serving as Brownes’ CEO for seven years.

Girgis navigated the company through an ownership change and championed the return of traditional cheddar cheese to West Australian supermarkets for the first time in 14 years.

“Brownes Dairy is an iconic WA company and I have been honoured to have led a vibrant and innovative team for many years as the CEO and Managing Director. I have greatly enjoyed working alongside Natalie, and believe she is an inspired choice as the company’s new CEO who will continue to bring success to WA’s favourite dairy,” Girgis said.

Sarich-Dayton was born and educated in the Perth Hills of WA before graduating from the University of Western Australia. She then carved out a career in sales, marketing and management spanning more than 20 years, working for some of the world’s top international food and beverage companies in Australia and overseas, including Coca-Cola Amatil, HJ Heinz, Danone and Unilever.

In 2019 and 2020 her marketing leadership of Brownes Dairy was honoured with placings in the CMO50 list of Australia’s most innovative and effective chief marketing officers.

Sarich-Dayton joins an all-too-small group of women in charge of WA’s most successful companies including Elizabeth Gaines, the CEO of Fortescue Metals Group, and Stephanie Unwin, CEO of Horizon Power.

“It’s crucial WA business take a leading role in promoting more women to leadership positions, and I’m honoured that Brownes has entrusted me with this vital role. The pandemic has reminded us about the role we all can play in keeping our communities, including our businesses, authentically connected,” Sarich-Dayton said.

Image credit: Brownes Dairy

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