Nicholas Saphir has been appointed as the new chair of the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) on a three-year term starting 1 April.
Saphir replaces former NFU president Sir Peter Kendall, who completes his second term in office at the end of March.
The AHDB chair is a ministerial appointment, made by Defra secretary of state George Eustice, and comes with a pay packet of £55,000 based on a minimum 104 days per year.
Saphir has a wide background in agriculture and horticulture, having built a public company farming, processing and trading fruit and vegetables in the UK, Europe, southern Africa and South America.
His dairy experience includes spending the last 18 years building the Organic Milk Suppliers' Cooperative (Omsco) into the world’s second-largest dedicated organic milk cooperative with exports of cheese, butter and infant formula-grade milk powders to the USA, EU and Australasia.
He also has a successful record of chairing industry and government bodies in the food and farming sector, including as chairman of the Central Council for Agricultural and Horticultural Cooperation, founder chairman of Food from Britain, president of the Fresh Produce Consortium and chairman of the Agricultural Forum.
Defra farming Minister Victoria Prentis said: “Nicholas Saphir has a wealth of experience in the food and farming industry, with a diverse understanding of marketing and trade across a variety of sectors. I am confident he will provide the AHDB with strong leadership, clear vision and enthusiasm as the sector enters a time of change.
“I’d also like to thank Peter Kendall for his dedication to the AHDB, and the sector as a whole, over the past six years.”
Saphir himself said: “I’m delighted to be involved with AHDB at this pivotal time of change for UK agriculture and horticulture. The AHDB has a vital role to play in helping to equip farmers, growers and processors to make the most of the opportunities and tackle the challenges that lie ahead.”
AHDB chief executive Jane King added: “Nicholas brings a wealth of agricultural and commercial experience which will be invaluable to helping AHDB strengthen its role during a significant time of change for industry. Myself and the AHDB team are really looking forward to working with him.”