Two new AHDB Board members appointed

The Government has appointed two new members to the Board of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) with effect from 10 April 2017, for three years.

Sophie Churchill OBE and Mike Sheldon will have oversight of the strategic direction for the whole organisation, as well the additional responsibility to be Chair of its Potato Sector Board and Chair of its Pork Sector Board respectively.

They replace Fiona Fell (potatoes) and Meryl Ward (pork), who finished their terms in office on 31 March 2017.

AHDB Chairman Peter Kendall said: “I’m delighted to welcome Sophie and Mike to the AHDB Board. They join at a significant time for AHDB as we look to deliver a fresh strategy to inspire the food and farming industry to respond to the challenges of Brexit and changing domestic and international markets.”

The appointments have been made jointly by Ministers in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs for Northern Ireland.

Sophie Churchill said: “I am delighted to be taking up this opportunity with the AHDB Board and its Potato Sector Board. The next few years will see some big challenges and opportunities for British agriculture and I am looking forward to playing a part in helping to lead AHDB’s strategy during this exciting period.”

Mike Sheldon said: “I am very pleased to be joining the AHDB Board at this important time and to also be leading the Pork Sector Board. I am passionate about British farming, food and drink and I believe that AHDB can deliver a difference for UK agriculture as we manage our way through Brexit and into a new trading environment.”

Peter Kendall added: “I would like to thank Fiona and Meryl for their great contribution to the work of the Board during this period of change and the passion and thoughtful energy they have both put into the role”

Sophie Churchill OBE biography:

Sophie Churchill is an experienced leader and non-executive. She is president of the Royal Forestry Society and was Chief Executive of The National Forest Company 2006 – 2014. She is the Founder of The Corpse Project, exploring better ways with the body after death. She also chairs TREE AID, which uses trees to help resilience to poverty and climate change in the drylands of Africa.

Sophie was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to the environment and is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Foresters

Mike Sheldon biography:

Mike Sheldon is a Director and Proprietor of a wine importing and online retail business. He is a non-executive Director of Assured Food Standards and chairman of its pig sector board. He is chairman of the Real Welfare Steering Group for pigs in the UK and a former chief executive of the National Pig Association.

From 1982 to 1996, Mike worked for pig genetics company, PIC, taking on various roles from Production Manager for the UK to Marketing Manager for Europe, before leaving to set up his own farrow-to-finish pig production company which he ran for 18 years.

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