Martin Paterson, deputy director general of the Food and Drink Federation, is leaving the FDF next month to set up his own company.
Paterson, who is also director of communications at the FDF, said that he was leaving after eight years to start up an independent consultancy.
He said: "Having been able to help project the 'voice of the industry' through so many challenges over the past eight years has been an enormous privilege. I have particularly enjoyed the rough and tumble as principal spokesman for the industry during so many high-profile issues, ranging from GM foods to the current furore around the industry's role in food and health."
Melanie Leech, director general of the FDF, added: "Martin has been an enormous asset to our industry as its public face and we wish him well in his new endeavours. His time here coincided with the explosion of interest in media and political spheres, and with the general public, in food and its manufacture and marketing."
Paterson was formerly a deputy director of information at the Department for Education and Employment. He has also worked in communication posts at the Ministry of Defence, The Department for Trade and Industry and secondments to 10 Downing Street.
The FDF said that arrangements were now being put in place to recruit Paterson's replacement.