Mark White has been appointed as the new Groceries Code Adjudicator, replacing Christine Tacon when she steps down later in the year.
Tacon agreed to stay on until the autumn to help guide the industry through the Covid-19 crisis, and White will carry out the role of deputy Groceries Code Adjudicator in the meantime. He will work alongside Tacon to allow for a smooth handover of responsibilities.
White currently serves as a non-executive chairman of Digital Reconnaissance, a cyber-protocol employee reference checking company. He is also a member of the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) and of the Lower Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) at HM Courts & Tribunal Service, where he is responsible for hearing appeals against decisions from the Financial Conduct Authority and the Ministry of Justice in a range of financial services and claims management cases.
Prior to that, White was the group general counsel, company secretary and executive board member at Compass Group. He was also group general counsel, company secretary and executive board member at Ferguson Plc, Enterprise Oil Plc (now part of Royal Dutch Shell) and Rotork Plc. He has also worked as a solicitor at Eversheds Sutherland.
At Compass Group, White was responsible for legal, governance, the annual report, compliance and insurance as well as the professional development of 140 lawyers for the FTSE 30 food and support services company, employing more than 600,000 people with operations in over 45 countries.
He was additionally a pension scheme trustee, a member of the executive board, disclosure and corporate responsibility committees and a director of multiple group companies and joint venture companies in the UK, France, the UAE, South Africa and India.
Small business minister Paul Scully said: "Mark White’s extensive experience will bring valuable insight to this important role, providing support to the groceries sector through these difficult times. I look forward to working with him to ensure a level playing field between grocers and suppliers."
White himself added: "I am delighted to have been appointed to succeed Christine Tacon. I welcome the opportunity to build on Christine’s work and as GCA my objective will be to drive forward the progress that has been made to date. As the annual survey has shown, much has been achieved, but there is still more to be do and I welcome the government’s commitment in its response to the Statutory Review to work with me to help suppliers feel empowered to raise issues in confidence with the GCA and their retailers directly.
"The exceptional times in which we find ourselves demonstrate the importance of a constructive relationship between the retailers and their suppliers, as well as the Code’s resilience in shaping those relationships. I intend to build relationships across the sector - most importantly with the retailers, suppliers and trade bodies - while I carry out the role of deputy to Christine in the short term. In that way, I will be in a strong position to work on future issues as her successor and the UK’s second GCA."