AHDB has today announced the appointment of Graham Wilkinson, currently global vice president, agriculture, at dairy business Arla Foods as its new chief executive officer.
Mr Wilkinson is set to leave Arla in the New Year, with the exact timing to be agreed between Arla and AHDB in the coming weeks. He will replace Tim Rycroft, who leaves AHDB in December 2023 after nearly two and a half years in the role.
AHDB said Mr Wilkinson brings a wealth of experience and a proven track record of success from his time at Arla, having operated in both global and UK roles, supporting over 8,500 cooperative farmer owners and managing the delivery of innovative commercial milk concepts on farm.
He created a leading European Agriculture Function within Arla, spanning seven markets. He has also worked in the retailer-side at Tesco PLC, where he strengthened the sustainability of agriculture supply chains in its dairy, beef, pork and poultry sectors.
Having worked throughout the supply chain for his whole career, agriculture has always been part of Graham’s life, working with his grandparents and parents on the family farm in the north east of England, AHDB said, adding that he is a ‘passionate leader and strong advocate of British Food and Farming’.
Nicholas Saphir, chair of AHDB said: “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 maximising the impact of the work we do. Thank you to Arla for supporting a smooth transition.”
Mr Wilkinson said: “I am excited to join AHDB, an organisation that I have a deep appreciation for and huge respect for its fantastic team.
“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.”