First Milk has announced the appointment of Dr Sean Rickard as the independent chairman of its Member Council.
The appointment is effective immediately and follows last year's governance review, which led to member approval and implementation of a leaner and more commercial Board structure and strong Member Council. The Member Council's roles are to oversee the strategy of the business and represent First Milk's farmer owners.
Dr Rickard has had a successful career as a professional economist spanning 40 years and was the NFU's chief economist between 1987 & 1995. Between 1995 & 2012 he was the senior lecturer in business economics and then Director of the MBA programme at Cranfield School of Management. Also during this period Dr Rickard was a government academic adviser on food and rural policy.
Mike Smith, First Milk's council member who led the selection process, said:
"Sean perfectly fits the criteria we were looking for in an independent chair of our Member Council. He has established a national reputation as a champion of a productive and internationally competitive agricultural industry and is an experienced communicator."
Mike Gallacher, CEO said,
"I am looking forward to working closely with Sean who brings a wealth of agricultural experience to the First Milk team. The business has made rapid progress in difficult circumstances over the last twelve months and this appointment; together with everything else we have put in place means we have created a strong cooperative for our members for the long term."
Dr Sean Rickard added,
"I am delighted to have this opportunity to work with the Members' Council and the Board to make First Milk the success its members deserve. For my part, I am very mindful of the responsibility that is now invested in me and I will be working hard to ensure that members are fairly rewarded for their loyalty as First Milk moves forward to realise its potential."
The appointment of Dr Sean Rickard is in addition the following heavyweight commercial appointments which have been made during the last 12-18 months: