The Food Standards Agency has appointed Catherine Brown as its new chief executive.

Brown (pictured) is currently CEO of Defra’s Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratories Agency. She will start in her new role in October, taking over from Tim Smith, who has led the watchdog since March 2008.

In addition to her experience managing animal health services, Brown has private-sector experience through a stint as managing director of BUPA and working at Unilever. She also previously worked for the NHS.

FSA chairman Lord Rooker said Brown’s broad experience suited the FSA’s core principles, with her experience of working in a “devolved environment” a valuable asset.

“The board and I look forward to working with Catherine and ensuring the FSA continues protecting the consumer, regulating the food industry and enforcing the standards,” he said.

Rooker thanked Smith for his work at the FSA, highlighting his role in transferring the meat hygiene service to the agency’s remit.

“Tim has made us a leaner and more efficient organisation, without compromising food safety and consumer confidence,” he added.

Brown has been appointed to the £140,000-a-year post for a three-year term.