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Senior Executive Management

John Lorente
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

John Lorente joined Big River in February 2018 and was appointed Managing Director & CEO on the 1st of March, 2023. Prior to joining Big River, John worked for GWA Group Ltd (a leading supplier of building fixtures and fittings) for 12 years where he had various roles senior management roles within both the Heating & Cooling, and Kitchens & Bathroom divisions which included roles in both Australia and the USA. Prior to his time at GWA Group Ltd, John worked for several years in the coatings and construction markets, including roles with Mirotone, Polycure and Corian.
John holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney, a Masters of Business Administration from Macquarie Graduate School of Management and is an Affiliate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

John O’Connor
Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary

John O’Connor joined Big River in August 2022. Prior to this role John had a wide and varied commercial career in both Australia and Europe, across a range of manufacturing and distribution businesses. His most recent role as CFO & Company Secretary at Youfoodz Holdings, included the public listing of the business in 2020 and its ultimate sale to the Hello Fresh Group in 2021. John has a BComm, is a Chartered Management Accountant and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Steph Bassett
Head of People and Culture

Steph Bassett joined Big River Group in July 2023. Prior to joining Big River, Steph held senior leadership positions in Australian and global companies and has worked extensively across Australia, the USA and the Asia Pacific region. Most recently, Steph worked for CSR Limited as GM of Human Resources for Construction Systems. Before working with CSR, Steph was Director of People & Culture and Company Director for Hussmann Pty Ltd, a Panasonic Company, working across Australia, New Zealand, China, USA and APAC.

Steph holds a Bachelor of Education from QUT, a Postgraduate degree in Psychology from Monash University, is a certified Executive Coach through IECL and is an Affiliate of the Australia Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

Ray Ferretti
Executive General Manager – Construction

Ray Ferretti joined Big River as the result of the acquisition of Adelaide Timber & Building Supplies in March 2017 in the role of General Manager. In December 2018, Ray was promoted to the role of Regional Manager - Southern (VIC/SA/WA) and in January 2022, Ray was promoted to the role of General Manager – Building Trade Centres. In March 2023, Ray was named Executive General Manager – Construction and is also responsible for Group Marketing. 

Ray has over 25 years’ experience in the supply of materials to the building and construction industries and prior to joining Big River, Ray held senior positions with Boral, G. James Glass Carter Holt Harvey and ACI.

Ray holds an Associate Diploma in Marketing, a Graduate Diploma in Management and a Master of Business Administration from the University of South Australia.

Gareth Watson
General Manager – Supply Chain and Manufacturing

Gareth Watson was appointed as EGM – Supply Chain and Manufacturing in January 2024 and has more than 20 years of supply chain experience in the both the building and consumer products sector. Before joining Big River, Gareth held a range of senior supply chain and manufacturing leadership roles across DuluxGroup and Boral. Gareth holds a degree in Material Science and Engineering from the University of NSW.

Scott Barclay
Executive General Manager – Panels

Scott joined Big River Group in January 2024. Prior to this role Scott held the position of National Sales Manager for Laminex Australia and before that held senior sales and operational roles at BGC, Knauf and James Hardie. Scott brings with him a successful track record of successfully growing large scale businesses in our industry. Scott holds a Masters of Business Administration from The University of Adelaide and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).