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Fred Searle


Wednesday 31st March 2021, 13:32 London

Tim Rycroft appointed CEO of AHDB

FDF's COO will spearhead reform strategy at challenging time for under-fire R&D body

Tim Rycroft appointed CEO of AHDB

Tim Rycroft

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The Food and Drink Federation’s Tim Rycroft has been named the new chief executive of AHDB as ministers consider the R&D body’s future role in horticulture and potatoes. 

Rycroft, currently chief operating officer at the FDF, will take up his position at the Stoneleigh-based levy board on 31 August 2021, replacing Jane King. 

During the intervening period, AHDB’s interim CEO will be chief finance and operations officer Ken Boyns.

Rycroft joins at a difficult time for the organisation, with growers and buyers in both horticulture and potatoes recently voting to scrap the statutory levy for AHDB’s services.

In his time at the FDF, he has been responsible for strategy and corporate affairs, as well as overseeing the federation’s policy on diet and health and on competitiveness. He is also a former government special adviser.

AHDB chair Nicholas Saphir said: “The board is delighted to welcome Tim as the new CEO of AHDB. His experience, both in his previous commercial and FDF roles as well as his knowledge of the industry, makes him ideally equipped to lead the significant change that we have started to introduce to the organisation.

“Tim will spearhead the ongoing programme when he joins us full time at the end of August, but in the meantime Tim, Ken Boyns and I are making sure that the work in progress is not held up while waiting for Tim to officially take up his new role.”

Rycroft added: “It’s tremendously exciting to be asked to lead AHDB at this critical moment in its history. 

“Nicholas Saphir and the team have set out a bold vision for change. Now this must be swiftly delivered so we can continue to play our vital role as a source of competitive advantage, underpinning a world class food and farming industry.”

Rycroft joined FDF in 2015 but prior to that, he held senior domestic and international corporate affairs positions with InterContinental Hotels Group, Diageo and Boots Healthcare International.

He has also worked in corporate communications consultancy and in government. He was a special adviser to the minister without portfolio for three years, before advising the health secretary.

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