The Soil Association has scored a coup by recruiting the Food Ethics Council’s well-respected executive director Tom MacMillan.

MacMillan, who has been with the Council since 2003, joins the Soil Association on 29 November as director of innovation.

One senior industry executive described the move as a “coup” for the association. MacMillan was “very well respected” in the industry and brought robust scientific and research credentials to his work, he said. “At a time when organic sales are suff ering and there’s a lot of debate about what tangible benefi ts it has,having someone like Tom help shape the public debate about organic will be very useful.”

The Food Ethics Council said MacMillan had played an important role in consolidating the council’s reputation “as a leading source of independent advice on sustainability and fairness in food and farming, and an honest broker on diffi cult issues”, he added. His key achievements during his time at the council included a stint on the expert panel that advised the Cabinet Offi ce on the Food Matters review of food policy. He also launched the FEC Business Forum – seminars that bring food industry executives together to debate important issues.

Helen Browning, the director of the Soil Association, currently acts as chairman to the council. On MacMillan joining, she said: “I believe Tom has the right blend of research credibility and academic rigour to support our work.”