Farming and land management business Farmcare has appointed Andrew Lazenby as operations director.
Lazenby joins from Waitrose Farm, where he was head of commercial for a 4,000-acre Hampshire estate that also includes a farm shop and nursery.
He has 20 years’ experience in the food and farming sector, with roles in Europe, the US, Africa and Australia.
His new job will involve ensuring information is shared across Farmcare’s business.
The organisation grows arable crops, fruit & vegetables on more than 40,000 acres that spread from Kent to Aberdeenshire.
Lazenby said there were huge opportunities for the business, especially with its proactive use of technology to improve efficiency.
“Growing up in North Lincolnshire I was aware of Farmcare from a young age,” he said. “Its constant evolution is fascinating and I now see the organisation as the biggest and best business in agriculture.
“The opportunity to help shape Farmcare, which is unique in its structure and mix of primary agriculture and corporate elements, was too good to miss.”
Farmcare was set up by the Co-op in 1896 and sold to the Wellcome Trust for £249m last year.
It unveiled a 10-year plan this spring, which included £10m of investment in buildings, equipment and drainage. Grassland and cattle will also be introduced.
Farmcare already employs more than 250 full-time staff and the plan includes raising the profile of jobs in supply chain, packing and farming.
“The appointment of an operations manager of this calibre is an important step to ensure we stay on target to hit the objectives we’ve laid out,” said Farmcare chief executive officer Richard Quinn.