NEWS: Board changes at NIAB

17 Sep 2012

Jeremy Lewis, former head of agriculture at accountants Grant Thornton, has been elected new Chairman of the NIAB Board. He succeeds Tony Pexton, who has chaired the NIAB Board for the past eight years and stands down after 11 years on the Board.

Richard MacDonald, former NFU Director-General and chair of Defra’s Better Regulation Task Force, has been elected Vice-Chairman of the NIAB Board.

Nigel Davies, Robert Harle and Jim Godfrey have also been appointed to the NIAB Board, bringing additional expertise in cereal processing, farming and agricultural research. Former TAG Chairman Geoff Elliot is standing down from the NIAB Board.

Announcing the changes NIAB chief executive Tina Barsby said:

“Over the past decade, NIAB has strengthened its position as a progressive, independent research organisation, spanning the crop production pipeline from basic plant genetics to applied agronomy research. We are extremely grateful to Tony Pexton, who has overseen this period of major strategic development for NIAB.”

“Combining NIAB and TAG within a single organisation is already delivering on the vision of a national, independent centre for crop research, trialling and knowledge transfer. Thanks are also due to Geoff Elliot for his role as TAG Chairman in building a successful alliance between NIAB’s core scientific skills and TAG’s agronomy and knowledge transfer expertise.

“Today, NIAB is uniquely positioned to deliver practical benefits to farmers and the food chain, at a time of renewed interest in productive, sustainable agriculture. I look forward to working with the new NIAB Chairman and Directors to help strengthen the connection between the science-base and practical agriculture to support improved crop production,” said Dr Barsby.



The NIAB Board

  • Jeremy Lewis – chairman

Jeremy is a former partner in the accounting firm Grant Thornton as Head of Agriculture, managing the firm’s business in Oxfordshire and non executive director of the firm's UK and International Governance Boards.

He has a mixed portfolio of non executive positions in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors together with his own rural business consultancy. He is a governor of Tudor Hall School and the Royal Agricultural College and is associated with a number of charitable organisations in the UK. He farms Dexter cattle in Oxfordshire.

  • Richard Macdonald – vice-chairman

A former Director-General of the NFU Richard is currently a Governor of The Royal Agricultural College Cirencester; Trustee of Farm Africa, Chairman of SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Approval) an independent auditing and certification body for small food businesses; Trustee of the Nuffield Agricultural Trust; Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society, a non-Executive Director of Moy Park and Director of the Bicton Overseas Agricultural Trust. He also chairs Defra's Better Regulation Task Force and has recently been appointed as a non-Executive Director for Dairy Crest. Richard was awarded a CBE in Birthday Honours List in 2002 for services to agriculture.

  • Professor Sir David Baulcombe

Professor Baulcombe was awarded a knighthood in June 2009 for his services to plant sciences. He is a British plant scientist and geneticist and is currently Royal Society Research Professor and Professor of Botany at the University of Cambridge.

Sir David serves on several committees and study sections, was elected Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation in 1997 and was president of the International Society of Plant Molecular Biology 2003-2004.

Sir David is a member of the BBSRC Council. His research interests include RNA silencing and protein-based innate immunity mechanisms in plants against pests and disease. He jointly discovered the small interfering RNA that is the specificity determinant in RNA-mediated gene silencing and, with other members of his research group at the Sainsbury Laboratory, he also helped unravel the importance of small interfering RNA in epigenetics and in defence against viruses.

  • Dr Richard Summers

Richard is the European Cereal Breeding Coordinator for RAGT at its UK offices in Cambridgeshire. He is responsible for wheat, durum, triticale and winter barley breeding programmes, molecular marker, analytics and breeding support teams (based in UK, France, Germany and The Czech Republic). He is also responsible for trialling and the development of breeding lines in non-core geographies (Benelux, Nordics, Baltics, central and eastern Europe).

Richard is currently a board member for the British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB), chair of the BSPB Technical Liaison Committee and R&D Group, and the BSPB-nominated CEL Wheat RL Committee member.

  • Andrew Kuyk

Andrew is Director of Sustainability and Competitiveness at the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). He is responsible for directing the resource efficiency programme for food manufacturing sector and leading the FDF aim of putting sustainable food production at the heart of Government economic policy in order to meet the twin challenges of food security and climate change.

Andrew was awarded CBE in Birthday Honours List in 2006 for services to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

  • Nigel Davies

Nigel is Manufacturing and Technical Director of Muntons, an international producer of malt and malted ingredients. His remit is directing the manufacturing operations and technical support teams and he also has board level responsibility for environment, health and safety and quality compliance. He is passionate about making real differences in environmental sustainability within the malting supply chain and has spearheaded the company’s carbon footprinting initiative.

Previously he has been a research scientist in cereals and a lecturer in cell biology at London University and is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology. Outside Muntons he has acts as an expert witness in cases where food safety of cereals is at issue particularly in marine transportation disputes. He is a reviewing editor for the Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists, Starch and the Journal of Food Science and Agriculture.

  • Robert Harle

Robert is a partner in two family businesses farming arable, beef and sheep in Durham and Northumberland, and has been involved with farmer-funded near market research since 1985. He was a member of the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Farm’s Advisory Committee and Farm Directorate 1989-2002.

Robert was a director of the North of England Arable Centre (NEAC) 1986-1990 and chairman 1990-1999 when it merged with Arable Research Centres (ARC). He was a director of ARC from 1999 to 2003, and following the merger with the Morley Research Centre has been a director of The Arable Group (TAG) since 2003. Robert has been an observer on NIAB’s main Board since 2009.

  • Jim Godfrey

An arable and pig farmer from Lincolnshire Jim is a non executive director of the Rural Payments Agency and Lincolnshire Rural Support Network, a Council member of the Biological and Bio-Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and chairman of the Technology Strategy Board Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform. He is also a member of The Commercial Farmers Group, Nuffield Farming Scholarship Selection Panel, International Rice Research Institute, and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Board Training Programme.

Jim is a former chairman of: The Potato Marketing Board, Scottish Crop Research Institute, Sentry Farming Group plc, the International Potato Centre and the Alliance of the 15 Research Centres of the CGIAR. He was awarded the OBE for services to agricultural research in Scotland in 2002.