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Michelle NuganManaging Director, Nugan Group

Michelle Nugan was forced to take over as Managing Director of Nugan Group in 1986 after the unexpected death of her husband, Ken. She inherited a family business which at best was faltering. Now, 20 years later Nugan Group is one of Australia’s greatest success stories with a turn-over in excess of $80 million.

To understand the immensity of Michelle’s achievements and her dedication and passion to ensure the ongoing legacy of her family’s business, it is important to understand the history of the Nugan Group.

The Nugan family story is inspirational and paints a vivid portrait of what inspires Michelle’s determination, passion and commitment to making Nugan Group a success. A third generation family business, the Nugan Group is now a highly diversified bourgeoning business including fruit and vegetable juice manufacturing and packing, market stands, vast horticultural properties and recently premium wine and olive oil production. Yet its beginnings were humble.

The Nugan Group was founded in 1940 when Alfredo Nugan emmigrated from Spain and settled in Griffith, New South Wales, to start a small fruit and vegetable packing operation. In 1965 his son, Ken, took over the business and under his control it underwent substantial growth and prosperity.

However, the 1980s saw market changes which brought financial strain to what was once a highly profitable business. Unfortunately, this market change coincided with Ken’s unexpected death from cancer in 1986. And it was at this time that Michelle was forced to drive the faltering family business forward and that she did.

Despite difficulties during the 1980s, Nugan Group has flourished under Michelle’s watchful eye. She has been responsible for the Group’s privatisation and return to family ownership and later renaissance into one of Australia’s most successful agricultural enterprises. This included the purchasing of vast horticultural properties and becoming the largest exporter of niche juice products to Asia in the Southern Hemisphere with production in excess of 70,000 tonne per annum.

More recently, with the assistance of her children Matthew and Tiffany, Michelle has overseen the Group’s successful diversification into premium wine and olive oil production.

Michelle’s achievements have been widely recognised including in 1996 being named a NSW Telstra Business Woman of the Year (Agribusiness) and 2000 Australian Export Hero.

Michelle is proud of Nugan Group’s success and wants to assist others to seek similar opportunities. Michelle fully sponsors two annual programs to develop business skills in regional Australia - WIRED (Women Innovating Rural Enterprise Development) and Riverina Young Achiever Program.

Michelle’s goal is to ensure the ongoing success of Nugan Group by mentoring her children, Matthew and Tiffany, in their future leadership of the Nugan Group.

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