Food and Beverage Business

Graham Wilkinson becomes CEO of AHDB

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Located at the heart of agriculture, Graham Wilkinson’s career path has been deeply intertwined with the supply chain. He brings to the table years of experience in the industry, starting from his roots on the family farm in the north east of England.

Currently serving as Arla Food’s Global Vice President for Agriculture, Wilkinson is set to join the Board in 2024. The exact timings of his move are to be agreed upon in the coming weeks.

During his time at the dairy giant, Wilkinson has made significant contributions. He has supported more than 8,500 cooperative farmer owners and played an integral role in the delivery of a range of on-farm milk concepts. Additionally, he was responsible for establishing a leading European agriculture function within the business, spanning seven markets.

Wilkinson’s career also extends into the retail sector, having previously worked as Tesco PLC’s agricultural manager. In this role, he strengthened the sustainability of agriculture supply chains in its dairy, beef, pork, and poultry sectors.

Speaking on his appointment, Wilkinson expressed his enthusiasm, saying, “My passion is working with farmers, for farmers and with my experience, I see this as a great opportunity to drive greater impact and success for all levy payers to help create a world-class food and farming industry.”

Nicholas Saphir, chair of AHDB, also shared his excitement, stating: “We are thrilled to welcome Graham to AHDB with his passion for farming, his impressive leadership skills and vast industry knowledge. We believe he is the ideal candidate to lead AHDB into the next exciting phase of our growth, putting levy payers at the heart of our work and maximizing the impact of the work we do. Thank you to Arla for supporting a smooth transition.”

The Association for Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) has also welcomed the news, noting Wilkinson’s background in agriculture as a refreshing addition. Tony Goodger, spokesperson for AIMS, commented, “After many years of CEOs not coming from a farming background, we welcome the announcement that Graham Wilkinson, currently Global Vice President – Agriculture at Arla Foods, is to become the new CEO at AHDB. It has been our long-held view that the CEO needed to be someone of industry stature and who has experience of both the production and processing side of farming.”

He continued, “He comes into the organization at a critical time with the Farming Minister about to decide on whether the levy is increased, something which we urge him to do quickly as the longer he takes to decide the less planning time our members have for the next financial year.”

In other news, Food Manufacture’s highly anticipated list of finalists for its upcoming awards ceremony have been announced. If you are interested, you can find out who made the finals for Food Manufacture Excellence Awards 2024.

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