The new role is on a two-year fixed term appointment from 3 November 2020.
Hesketh-Laird’s responsibilities will include finalising its new strategy to 2026, seeing through the FSS preparations for Brexit and its consequences and delivering regulatory strategy, nutrition and digital programmes.
“We’re absolutely delighted that Julie is joining us at a time of immense change and challenge,” said Geoff Ogle, FSS CEO.
“She brings a wealth of trade body experience and a different and valuable perspective as we adapt to new trading requirements, and the subsequent regulatory assurance required for any trade deals.”
“Her experience of working in the food and drink sector will be invaluable in supporting the development of our regulatory strategy and bolstering our senior team through her previous roles.”
Hesketh-Laird said: “Never have the challenges of maintaining food standards been in sharper focus. I am looking forward to using my experience of the sector to help FSS continue to develop effective policies for a successful food and drink industry and ensure consumer protection.
Hesketh-Laird was also previously the deputy chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association and has also worked at the Chemical Industries Association and the Confederation of British Industry.
FSS was established on 1 April 2015 by the Food (Scotland) Act 2015 as a non-ministerial office, part of the Scottish administration, alongside, but separate from, the Scottish Government
It is mainly funded by government, with a budget of £15.6m agreed within the Food (Scotland) Act 2015, but also charges fees to recover costs for regulatory functions. The organisation has 190 staff.
Earlier this year FSS warned about the impact of coronavirus on food fraud across the supply chain.
In 2019, FSS launched a new food allergy alert service, offering consumers on-the-go updates on missing or incorrect allergen information on food labels.