BPEX Appoints New Chairman

UK - Defra has chosen English pig industry leader Stewart Houston to be chairman of the new BPEX when it is set up next year as part of government’s levy board reform.
calendar icon 27 February 2007
clock icon 5 minute read

BPEX2008 will answer to a new superboard called Levy Board UK, which will be chaired by Defra appointee John Bridge, who has held a number of high-profile non-agricultural public appointments.

A decision has yet to be taken on where Levy Board UK will be based and whether BPEX2008 will be based at the same place.

Initially Defra said the board of the new BPEX would be appointed, not elected.

However, with the exception of the chairmanship, which remains within the gift of Defra (as with the current BPEX) it is now expected BPEX2008 will be allowed to hold elections for its board, as it does at present.

Stewart Houston, who is current chairman of BPEX, and also chairman of NPA, said this morning his priority will be - as it has always been - a profitable pig industry.

“The appointment is actually two jobs,” he explained.

“As a board member of Levy Board UK I will have the opportunity to secure what is best for the pig industry under the new structure, saving costs where we can share services and deriving great benefit from greater cross sector co-ordination and co-operation, particularly in areas such as diet and health, research and development, climate change and interaction with the education and public procurement initiatives.”

'My priority is a profitable pig industry'
He said BPEX would become a company limited by guarantee - with all the implications that brings in terms of corporate responsibility - but its main job would remain to deliver for levy-payers.

“We need to find new ways to communicate to ensure that what we are doing benefits the majority of producers and processors,” he said.

“We will recruit a new board through the usual processes so that we maintain the democratic, practical, hands-on representation you have been used to and are happy with.”

Stewart Houston says NPA and British Meat Processors Association will have an important role to play in the success of the new BPEX.

“The transition process to the new status will take more time than I would like, mainly for legislative reasons, but we will ensure that we continue to do the day job and deliver on your behalf, and to keep you informed of the changes as they happen.”

The other sector chairman will be:

  • Beef and lamb (England): John Cross
  • Cereals and oilseeds: Jonathan Tipples
  • Horticulture: John Hall
  • Milk: Tim Bennett
  • Pigs (England): Stewart Houston
  • Potatoes: Janet Bainbridge.

Stewart Houston is an MLC commissioner. He also represents the pig industry on the NFU council and policy board, and in Brussels on the Copa/Cogeca pigs committee and of the European Commission pigmeat working group. He is a David Black Award winner and an associate of the Royal Agricultural Societies.

Levy Board United Kingdom independent members are:

  • John Bridge (chairman-designate).
    Has over forty years of experience in the private, public and academic sectors. He is currently chairman of the Land Restoration Trust, chairman of Endeavour SCH PLC and sits on a number of private and public sector boards. He was founder chairman of One NorthEast and was also a board member of English Partnerships and UK Trade and Investment. He has recently sat on government advisory groups, dealing with urban regeneration and transport policy and was a member of the Treasury Advisory Council for Partnerships (UK). He is chairman of the Alnwick Garden Trust and is involved in a number of other charities in the north east, specifically helping people with disabilities. He is chairman of Durham Cathedral Council and a lay canon of the cathedral.
  • Christopher Bones.
    Currently principal of Henley Management College, the UK’s oldest graduate business school. Had a distinguished career in the food and drinks industry, holding senior director posts with United Distillers, Diageo and Cadbury Schweppes.
  • Lorraine Clinton.
    Held a number of senior positions with Pilkington Glass before deciding on a non-executive career. She also holds a number of public appointments – council member for Cranfield University, board member of the Manufacturing Institute (Salford) and executive committee member for Women of the Year.
  • Clare Dodgson.
    Former chief operating officer of the Employment Services Agency and Job Centre Plus and more recently chief executive of the Legal Services Commission.
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