The chairman of Australian Wool Innovation Ltd (AWI) and four other board members at the wool research and development organisation were ditched by Australian wool growers on Monday.

Maree McCaskill lost her position in the company's first election since its birth 18 months ago. She is set to be replaced by former defence minister Ian McLachlan who topped the vote with nearly 270,000 votes. Managing director Col Dorber kept his position on the board.

Ms McCaskill immediately launched a blistering attack on the election campaign and the main wool lobby group WoolProducers which she claimed had led to "malicious and totally unsubstantiated" remarks which have "harmed the wool industry, caused confusion and misled AWI's shareholders".

But WoolProducers president Simon Campbell hit back: "The wool industry has suffered division for too long," he said in a statement.

"Growers have made their choice, and that choice represents an exciting change in culture that will serve all shareholders."