Food From Britain has started the search for a new chief executive after David McNair announced his plan to take early retirement.

McNair, who has been at the helm of the food marketing agency for seven years, will step down at the end of May.

He has overseen the successful rise in exports from the UK and FFB has predicted food and drink exports will reach £10bn this year - their highest level ever.

"I am sure FFB will continue to go from strength to strength, assisting the development of its clients within the UK and internationally," said McNair.

"It has been a real privilege to lead FFB and serve the British food and drink industry during this time."

FFB chair, Lady Sylvia Jay, thanked McNair for his efforts. "David has worked hard for FFB and consistently met the targets set for him and the organisation.

"His knowledge of the British food and drink industry worldwide has served FFB and its many ­clients well."