First Milk has appointed former Defra agriculture minister Jim Paice as its new chairman.
Paice, who replaces Bill Mustoe, will take up his new position on 31 October, having announced earlier this year his intention to step down as an MP.
“From our meetings with him, he has demonstrated a detailed understanding of the dairy sector, very strong communication skills and a considerable network of contacts. Equally importantly for our farmer members, Jim has a deep understanding of and empathy for farming.
“As a former minister of state responsible for agriculture and food, and shadow minister for agriculture and rural affairs for six years prior to that, he brings considerable knowledge and experience of not only the domestic market, but also the international dynamics of the dairy industry.” Paice said he felt privileged to “lead the largest dairy business owned by British farmers”. Farmers should work together to shape their own destiny, he said.
“The dairy sector has gone through difficult times recently but I have long believed there is a good future for British dairy farmers and I look forward to helping to achieve it,” he added.
Mustoe said Paice would bring “valuable skills” to First Milk.
First Milk also announced the appointment of three new farmer directors - Jim Baird, Willie Campbell and Wendy Radley. They will replace Tom Campbell, Mark James, Hugh Parker and Simon Weaver.
First Milk is reducing the number of farmer directors on its board from six to five.