“I look forward to a number of important priorities,” Darby told the FDF’s annual President’s Reception at the Marriott County Hall Hotel, London on Wednesday (December 6).
“Perhaps the two most important ones are to be a continuing proactive force in helping to address the really important issue of obesity and the second one is making sure the industry has a strong plan to work in the environment when we come out of the EU.”
Gavin Darby’s priorities
- Being “a proactive force” to address obesity
- Forging “a strong plan” for business after Brexit
Challenges of Brexit
Darby added that a determination to turn the challenges of Brexit into opportunities for food and drink manufacturers would be another hallmark of his presidency.
The Premier Foods boss takes over the presidency from Fiona Kendrick, ceo and chairman of Nestlé UK and Ireland, in January 2017.
Both Darby and FDF director general Ian Wright paid tribute to Kendrick’s achievements as president over the past two years. The president elect said: “The word transformational is perhaps overused in may circles in which we operate. But, if you look where the FDF was two years ago [when Kendrick took over as president] and the fabulous place the FDF is in now, the word transformational is genuinely deserved.”
Ramping up the FDF’s efforts to address the looming skills gap was identified as a core priority during her presidency. Kendrick was also praised for her “passion and leadership”, which ensured the first industry-led Food Engineering Degree course began at Sheffield Hallam University.
Food Engineering Degree course
More recently, Kendrick led the FDF’s productivity taskforce which, working with Sir Charlie Mayfield and other industrial partners, has helped secure the National Productivity Investment Fund announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement.
Commenting on Darby’s new role, Kendrick said: “President elect Gavin Darby has already made a valuable contribution to driving forward FDF’s priority areas as chair of the Food Engineering Industrial Advisory Board for the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering.
“Gavin is an articulate and determined champion of the food and drink industry and I believe he is very well placed to lead the next chapter in FDF’s development. I wish him every success in his new role.”
Meanwhile, the FDF president provides strategic input and leadership to the federation, chairs its executive committee and acts as an FDF and industry ambassador. FDF presidents initially serve a one-year term, which is renewable for a further year.