Dairy farmer co-operative First Milk today announces the selection of Sir Jim Paice MP, formerly Agriculture and Food Minister as the new chairman of the business. He will take up the position on 31 October when current chairman Bill Mustoe steps down at the company's AGM.
At the same time, Jim Baird, Willie Campbell and Wendy Radley have been selected as new farmer directors. The Board and Area Representative group have approved these four appointments and they now go forward to the AGM for member approval.
Sir Jim is currently Member of Parliament for South East Cambridgeshire, a position he has held since 1987. During his Parliamentary career, he has held a number of ministerial and shadow ministerial positions, most recently he served as Minister of State for Agriculture & Food in the Coalition Government from 2010 - 12.
First Milk chairman Bill Mustoe commented,
"We are delighted to have recruited Jim and I am convinced that he will bring valuable skills to First Milk.
"From our meetings with him, he has demonstrated a detailed understanding of the dairy sector, very strong communication skills and a considerable network of contacts. Equally importantly for our farmer members, Jim has a deep understanding and empathy for farming.
"As a former Minister of State responsible for Agriculture & Food and Shadow Minister for Agriculture & Rural Affairs for six years prior to that, he brings considerable knowledge and experience of not only the domestic market, but also the international dynamics of the dairy industry.
"He has been a champion for farmers at Westminster for over 25 years and we now look forward to him being a champion for First Milk farmers."
Sir Jim Paice added,
"I feel privileged to be invited to lead the largest dairy business owned by British farmers.
"Having worked for a farmer owned business before I became an MP, and from being Minister, I have always believed that farmers should work together to influence their own destiny.
"The dairy sector has gone through difficult times recently but I have long believed there is a good future for British dairy farmers and I look forward to helping to achieve it".
Jim Baird, Willie Campbell and Wendy Radley will replace Tom Campbell, Mark James, Hugh Parker and Simon Weaver as farmer directors. First Milk is reducing the number of farmer directors on the Board from 6 to 5, which is in line with the streamlining that has been brought to other roles across the business. In keeping with the rules of First Milk, the farmer directors on the Board will remain in the majority.
Subject to member approval, the make-up of the Board after the AGM on 31 October will be: Sir Jim Paice (chairman); Nigel Evans (vice chairman & farmer director); Richard Davis (farmer director); Jim Baird (farmer director); Willie Campbell (farmer director); Wendy Radley (farmer director); Bob Stott (non-executive director); Kate Allum (chief executive); Gerry Sweeney (finance director).
Notes to editors:
About Sir Jim Paice MP
• Sir Jim announced in March 2013 that he will be stepping down as MP for South East Cambridgeshire in 2015, after 28 years in the role
• He is currently a non-executive director of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany and a trustee of the Game and Welfare Conservation Trust
• In his spare time he enjoys tending his small herd of Highland Cattle and various country pursuits
About First Milk
First Milk is the UK's only major dairy company, 100% owned by British farmers. It supplies a wide range of dairy products and dairy ingredients to customers in both national and international markets including block cheeses, soft cheeses, raw milk, butter, skimmed milk powder, whey proteins and sports nutrition brands.
It generates annual revenues of £579 million (2011/12 figures) and is headquartered in Glasgow with eight manufacturing sites across England, Scotland and Wales employing a total of 670 people.
First Milk's aspiration is to provide consumers with great-tasting nutritious food, while delivering value for every part of its farmers' milk. As a business with a passion for innovation and sustainability, it is constantly seeking fresh ways of working with partners across the supply chain to drive pioneering solutions to industry challenges.
For further information on First Milk, please visit www.firstmilk.co.uk or follow the company on Twitter @first_milk and YouTube www.youtube.co.uk/firstmilk1. A copy of First Milk's sustainability report is also available to download via its website - www.firstmilk.co.uk/sustainability/
For media enquiries, please contact:
Sacha Boljevic, communications executive, First Milk:
M: +44 (0)141 847 6786