The head-honcho of AACo, Australia's biggest beef cattle producer, has quit the company after reaching a ''mutual'' agreement with its board.

The Australian Agricultural Company sent waves of surprise around the agricultural and financial analysis industries with the announcement this week that CEO David Farley will step down. His resignation came just after AACo posted a $46.5 million loss in the quarter to March 31.

The company says its new chief executive will bring with them “a different skill set to lead the company in its next stage of growth”. It’s likely AACo is hoping that stage of growth will be in the financial domain, with analysts saying the company’s swollen middle-management level could do with a trim.

Agribusiness analyst Paul Jensz, of Phillip Capital, said the company will be trying to move on from recent turmoil: “They have had a lot of ructions with the owners, with the board, and David, I think, was the right sort of personality to sort all those things out. He's good at telling the big-picture strategy. But I think you need a different person to drive costs out and to run this as a lean group and getting into the exports markets.”

AACo's chief financial officer Craig White has been appointed interim CEO while the company looks for a permanent replacement.