Jason Feeney FSA CEO

Feeney retires after a 38-year civil service career

Food Standards Agency chief executive Jason Feeney has announced plans to retire, and will step down in June, just over two years after taking on the role.

The FSA said Feeney, who succeeded Catherine Brown as CEO of the regulator in April 2017, would “continue to oversee the most critical phase of the FSA’s preparations for EU exit” before his retirement in the summer after a 38-year civil service career.

He had previously served as chief operating officer of the FSA, from 2015 to 2017.

Feeney, who was made a CBE in 2011, has also worked in senior positions at the Pension Service and the Department for Work & Pensions, in addition to stints at the NHS, Central Design Authority, the Benefits Agency, the Disability & Carers Service and the DHSS, where he started his career in 1981.

His time at the helm of the FSA coincided with preparations for life after Brexit and a number of food safety scandals in the meat sector, which began with 2 Sisters in the autumn of 2017 and led to a series of regulatory reforms.

Feeney had been an “outstanding CEO of the FSA”, said chair Heather Hancock, “in some of the most challenging years of this department’s existence”.

His personal leadership on Brexit and regulatory transformation had been “exemplary”, she added.

“I am full of admiration for his achievements and impact whilst with the FSA - with our people, with colleagues across national and local government, and with industry. I speak for the whole FSA board when I say how grateful we are that Jason chose to conclude his distinguished career by leading the FSA into an exciting future.”

Reflecting on a “terrific career”, Feeney described his retirement as a “really difficult decision”, adding he was “incredibly proud” of the FSA.

“I have every reason to be confident that the FSA will go on to even greater things in the future. We’ve got an excellent chair in Heather and a fantastically capable executive team. The resilience, dedication and passion of the people I’ve had the privilege to work with here is second to none.”