He succeeds Dr David Dobbin, group chief executive of dairy cooperative Dale Farm, who stepped down from the role at the Dairy UK annual general meeting held last week (September 14).
Vernon has worked with Glanbia for the past 22 years, taking up the role of ceo of its cheese division in 2000.
Commenting on his appointment, Vernon said: “For me it is a huge privilege to be elected chairman of an organisation that puts itself at the forefront of representing the interests of one of the nation’s greatest industries.
‘Relevance and importance of dairy’
“We have massive challenges ahead of us, particularly in relation to Brexit, so there has never been a more important time to remind government and decision-makers of the relevance and importance of dairy.
He added that, while Brexit might dominate the political landscape, protecting and promoting the nutritional benefits of dairy foods was one of the key challenges facing the industry.
“These are extraordinary times, but where there is challenge there is also opportunity,” continued Vernon. “We must ensure our industry works to create an environment conducive to these new opportunities.”
Dairy UK ceo Dr Judith Bryans welcomed Vernon to the position and paid tribute to former chairman Dobbin.
‘Busy and challenging period’
“We are lucky to be gaining another leading industry figure in Paul Vernon, to lead Dairy UK through what will be an extraordinarily busy and challenging period,” said Bryans.
Dairy UK also welcomed two new vice-chairs to the organisation: Tomas Pietrangeli, md of Arla Foods, and Andrew McInnes, md of Müller Milk & Ingredients.
Bryans added: “Tomas and Andrew have a wealth of expertise and insight behind them, all of which will be important in helping Dairy UK to create a positive environment for the future of the industry.”
Meanwhile, the dairy sector must take a high priority in Brexit negotiations, the Dairy UK trade association has urged.