The reasons for NT Cattlemen’s Association chief executive Ashley Manicaros’s sudden departure from the organisation remain a mystery, with both sides refraining from offering an explanation.
Mr Manicaros issued a media statement on Thursday, stating that he left the group “after a discussion with the [NTCA] president [Chris Nott]”.
“I regard the discussions as private and confidential at this time,” he said in the statement.
“Right now I’m reflecting on all my options and opportunities. I will continue to contribute to the Northern Territory in whatever capacity.
“I had a strong track record of success at the NTCA and look proudly on my achievements over the last 27 months.
“I will always hold the NTCA membership in the highest regard and followed the mission statement to advance and protect the cattle industry religiously.”
Mr Manicaros’s tenure with the NTCA was not without controversy. He routinely used his position to engage in social media political debates with anti-frackers and others who disagreed with his positions on various issues.
Back in April, the NT Independent revealed Mr Manicaros was the so-called “secret candidate” for CLP pre-selection in the electorate of Port Darwin. Mr Manicaros was obligated to remain politically neutral in the role of NTCA CEO and it was believed at the time that his move to run could have affected his position.
He was ultimately unsuccessful in winning pre-selection.
Despite the controversies, Mr Manicaros was well regarded by the business community and seen as accomplishing objectives for the NTCA.
It’s understood the departure came as a surprise to Mr Manicaros, having appeared on ABC Radio’s Country Hour just hours before the announcement was made.
NTCA president Chris Nott did not provide much information about Mr Manicaros in a statement Wednesday afternoon announcing his departure, choosing instead to focus on incoming acting CEO Romy Carey.
“We will continue to fight the good fight and tackle those challenges in 2021 with a new CEO at the helm of our organisation,” he said in the statement.
Acting CEO Romy Carey is a Darwin-born mother of three and was a finalist in the 2020 NT Young Achiever’s Agriculture Awards. She has worked for the NTCA as an “executive officer for nearly two years”, the statement said.
Mr Nott said she “has the support and trust of the NTCA board”.