Lucy MacLennan - new CEO at Organic Research Centre

The Organic Research Centre (ORC) has appointed Nuffield scholar Lucy MacLennan as its new chief executive.

Since the departure of longstanding chief executive Nic Lampkin last year, Stuart Rogers has been acting as interim CEO until MacLennan’s appointment.

MacLennan has worked for over 25 years in the fresh produce sector, including senior leadership and management positions at a range of retailers and suppliers including Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Kettle Produce.

Alongside working as a senior consultant in food quality, food safety, and food supply chain integrity and innovation, she is also a non-executive director and chair of the fresh produce board at Red Tractor Assurance.

Since completing a postgraduate diploma in agri-food and sustainable supply chains at the University of Nottingham last year, MacLennan has been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to investigate ‘audit and assurance’ in the fresh produce sector, including conflicting agendas between food safety requirements and sustainability initiatives.

'I’m thrilled and excited to be appointed CEO at the ORC,” MacLennan said. “The work of the organisation to redesign and deliver better farming systems based on organic and agro-ecological principles offers real value to our society.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a time where emphasis on the development of sustainable agricultural practices and organic production methods has been more important. With public awareness of climate change and the environment at an all-time high, there’s enormous potential to further develop the work of the ORC and extend its potential reach and impact.”

ORC chairman Mike Turnbull said MacLennan’s new position marked a significant change in the ORC’s approach to appointing a CEO. “The ORC’s unique contribution to organic and agro-ecological practice is its ability to combine scientific excellence with practical experience to deliver real benefits on the ground. In searching for the right candidate, we prioritised broad experience in both farming and the wider food industry, given our strong and respected research capability.

“We also sought an individual with a strong track record in the environmental and sustainability field, with shared values and excellent communication skills. We very much looking forward to Ms MacLennan starting her new role and the undoubted value she’ll bring to the ORC.'