First Milk Appoints Chairman's Advisory Group

First Milk chairman Bill Mustoe has appointed a new advisory group to complement the existing skills and knowledge within the company's Board and Executive teams.

The seven First Milk members who will make up the advisory group have a breadth of commercial experience. There is also a wide geographical spread with three of the individuals coming from Wales, two from England and two from Scotland.

The appointment of these members comes ahead of proposed changes to the First Milk Board later this year that will see the number of farmer directors elected by the local representative group onto the Board reduce from six to three, with the selection of three directors coming from this advisory group.

Mustoe explained, "My main rationale for this initiative was a desire to be able to look around the Boardroom table and see a team of people with broad commercial experience that are coming up with constructive ideas to improve the returns we are making.

"Over twenty members put themselves forward for these advisory roles and I have been delighted at the quality of candidates, while recognising the need to work with a smaller, more manageable team.

"I have identified seven individuals, whom I believe, have the vision, passion, determination and ideas to make a real difference to First Milk. Over the next few months, I will work alongside this group and judge what they as individuals could add to our Board."

The Advisory team will meet for the first time during May.

Notes to editors

Rule changes:

In order to make the proposed changes to the First Milk Board referred to above, the rules of the Society must be amended. Proposal will be put forward for members to vote on at the AGM in the autumn.

Profiles on individuals in advisory group:

Jim Baird

A partner in the family dairy business in the Clyde Valley, Jim has a broad agricultural and business perspective. With a Masters in Business Administration in addition to his BSc (Hons) in Agriculture, Jim has closely studied the collaboration, which exists within the dairy supply chain. With roles at NFU Mutual and DairyCo, Jim has recently been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to study rural entrepreneurship.

Nigel Evans

Pembrokeshire dairy farmer Nigel has an international perspective on industry having established a number of property businesses within Europe and he currently chairs a Swedish property company. Specifically in agriculture, he has studied the dairy industries in the US, South America and New Zealand, including the operation of the co-op Fonterra and has travelled extensively to learn from the best people in the dairy industry.

David Gravell

A third-generation dairy farmer, Carmarthenshire-based David has experience in property investment. As the director of a successful environmental action group lobbying Government for a sustainable policy for renewable energy, he has knowledge and expertise in negotiating local and national politics.

Mark James

When Mark re-organised his Herefordshire dairy enterprise seven years ago, it gave him the opportunity to evolve the business. Along with his wife, he opened a café, conference, wedding venue and outward-bound course. The couple also produce wines from their four hectares of grapes, which they sell in their award-winning café shop and to local hotels and restaurants.

Glyn Jones

In addition to running an organic dairy farm in Pembrokeshire, Glyn, along with his brother David, owns Princes Gate Spring Water – a bottled water business, producing 50 million bottles of water each year, which are stocked by many of the multiple retailers. Glyn and David have also capitalised on the growth market for water coolers and their business is listed as one of the 50 fastest growing companies in Wales.

Gary Mitchell

Gary only began dairying in 2007 but has rapidly built his business in Stranraer, south west Scotland. With a background in arable and beef production, Gary's farm was used as a demonstration unit in the development of an integrated beef finishing programme, raising his awareness of the importance of the farm-gate-to-plate supply chain.

Simon Weaver

A Gloucestershire dairy farmer with an entrepreneurial spirit, Simon runs a small artisan cheese enterprise on his farm, supplying independent customers as well as 300 Sainsbury's stores. Simon also has a farming business in Eastern Europe, supplying leading multiple retailers and is currently chairman of a grain storage co-operative.

For further information, please contact:

Paul Flanagan

First Milk

Group communications director

M: 07767 241452