David Clarke, the first ever chief executive of Red Tractor Assurance, is to retire after 19 years building the scheme from scratch.
Launched in 2000, the Red Tractor logo was established in the wake of the many food scares of the 1990s, including BSE, to reassure consumers over the reliability and safety of British food.
With more than 60,000 members, under Mr Clarke’s leadership, Red Tractor has become the UK’s, if not the world’s, leading farm assurance scheme and a key selling point for British primary products, Red Tractor said.
Mr Clarke said: “In Red Tractor, the UK farming industry has an assurance scheme that it can be really proud of.
“Major food and drink businesses use it as an intrinsic part of their sourcing policies and it is viewed positively by consumers who say it influences their shopping decisions.
“More than £14bn of food carried the Red Tractor logo on it last year. Government agencies also recognise the quality of the scheme, meaning Red Tractor farmers get fewer regulatory inspections.
“Establishing such a robust scheme which has to constantly evolve has not been without its challenges but I am leaving the organisation in great shape for the future.”
Mr Clarke will be replaced by Jim Moseley (left) – currently the assurance scheme’s chairman – later this month. He brings with him a wealth of food industry experience from a career which has spanned FMC (Meat) Ltd, Tulip, General Mills and, most recently, Mizkan.
He has also presided over both the Food & Drink Federation and the Provision Trade Federation.
Mr Moseley said he was delighted to be leading Red Tractor on the next phase of its development.
“David Clarke has done an outstanding job establishing and developing a comprehensive and robust assurance scheme which has been adopted and supported by the whole food chain,” he said.
“Looking to the future and particularly the uncertainties around Brexit, we must protect and promote British agriculture by ensuring consumers and buyers understand and value the exceptionally high standards which our farmers and growers deliver.”