Gavin Darby – who left Premier Foods in January last year – will work alongside the London-based charity’s founder and deputy chairman Justin Byam Shaw.
His appointment followed a period of increased demand for the charity, as it rushed to cope with the pressures faced in wave of the coronavirus pandemic – far higher than the estimated 1.5m adults and 400,000 children that were reportedly going hungry before the outbreak.
Speaking at his appointment, Darby said: “'I’m delighted to join The Felix Project as chair – and especially so at this crucial time. Both food waste and food poverty are massive issues and I’m hugely impressed by the dynamism and commitment of the charity and its volunteers.
‘Inevitable protracted hunger’
“I hope my appointment as chair will prove useful to The Felix Project as they face the inevitable protracted hunger crisis caused by COVID-19.”
Darby has held a number of high-profile roles in the food and drink industry. Along with his most recent role as head of Premier Foods, he was appointed president of the Food and Drink Federation in 2016.
Apart from his time in the food industry, he has served as chief executive for telecoms providers Vodafone (UK, 2001–2004 and US, Africa, China, India 2004–2008) and Cable & Wireless Worldwide (2011–2012).
‘Strengthen The Felix Project’
Commenting on Darby’s appointment, Justin Byam Shaw said: “The appointment of Gavin as our new chair will strengthen The Felix Project at a time of extraordinary growth for our charity. To secure someone of his calibre and track record also serves as a statement of intent about the scale of our ambition.”
Formed in 2016, The Felix Project distributes surplus food to charities, food banks and schools. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the charity has quadrupled its operation to rescue and deliver as much as 44 tonnes of food in a single day. In April, it delivered enough food for 1.63m meals to vulnerable Londoners.
Meanwhile, last month, coronavirus support funds for seafood processors and food redistributors were launched by the UK and Scottish Governments, offering millions of pounds in aid.