Our Executive Team

Portrait photo of John Howard.

Chief Executive Officer

John Howard

MBA, AGSM, AICD

John Howard is a strong leader and experienced Chief Executive Officer with expertise in agriculture and financial industries. He is recognised for building highly effective and engaged teams in times of market expansion and rapid change. He is particularly strong at developing and deploying business strategy.  

John spent nearly 10 years in the grains industry as well as time spent in a stock and station agency and running the family farm in Walgett, NSW. He has worked across all areas of the agricultural supply chain, from primary production (family and corporate farming), commodity marketing, trading, manufacturing and food marketing. He also has experience in financial investment markets and financial restructuring. Prior to the RIC, John worked as a senior leader in organisations such as AAM Investment Group, CommStream Capital, Peanut Company of Australia, Golden Circle Limited and Mars Inc/Masterfoods.  

John has a strong appreciation for organisational governance and risk and holds a Masters of Business Administration and is a Graduate of the Australian Graduate School of Management and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 


Man wearing a business suit standing in front of fence.

Executive Director Corporate Services

Paul Dowler

BBus, MBA, FCPA 

Paul became Executive Director Corporate Services in January 2021 where he manages the RIC’s finance, information systems, governance and human resources teams.

He has 32 years’ experience in the university sector. He spent the later 14 years at Charles Sturt University, the last 9 years as Chief Financial Officer, providing strategic advice to the Vice-Chancellor (CEO) and the University Council (Board). Paul also led the Corporate Services Group including Finance, IT and Facilities Management.

Paul has Bachelor of Business and Master of Business Administration degrees from Charles Sturt University, he is a Fellow of CPA (Certified Practising Accountants) Australia and lives in Orange, NSW.


Photo of Chris Rawlins

Executive Director Transformation and Engagement

Chris Rawlins

BEcon (Hons), MMkt

Chris joined the RIC in February 2021 as Executive Director Transformation and Engagement.

He is responsible for communication, digital content, policy and business development, as well as overseeing the changes under way across the organisation.

He has spent the last three years at LiveBetter where he served as Executive General Manager Strategy and Technology and Chief Customer Officer.

In the 11 years prior, he worked in a variety of marketing and customer strategy roles in the insurance sector for HCF, ClearView and TAL Life, as well as for the Australian Red Cross.

He holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney and a Masters in Marketing from the University of NSW and lives in Orange, NSW.


Photo of Alli Gartrell

Executive Director Program Delivery

Alli Gartrell

BCom (Hons) 

Alli joined the RIC in February 2021 as Executive Director Program Delivery and leads our loan operations including assessment and credit functions.

Alli has 15 years’ experience in banking across commercial and government programs.

Prior to the RIC, Alli was Manager Program Administration at the NSW Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) where she spent four years leading and managing the delivery of the RAA’s program portfolio including loans, grants and other funding programs. She also led her team to embed best-practice operational tools and processes to support efficient program delivery aligned to governance and risk frameworks.

She also spent 10 years in the banking sector with ANZ, working as a senior manager responsible for the Central West’s retail branch network.

Alli has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of New England and lives in Orange, NSW.