2000-Jan 2012 Co-operative Farms

Transformed the Co-operative Group’s farming business from a £6m loss, £40m turnover in 2000 to £6m profit and £65m turnover

  • restructured and removed layers of management
  • took major decisions such as exiting dairy farming and expanding into fresh produce packing
  • de-risked operations through hedging currency and fuel, selling forwards and introducing risk management principles to the industry

Drove a cultural change within the business

  • integrated Farms with the rest of the Co-operative Group, connecting farmers with Group initiatives, such as educating children and wildlife conservation initiatives, and raising awareness in the Group of the power of the farming business to support the brand
  • achieved the highest employee engagement scores in the Group

Inspired and led the branding of Co-operative Farms

  • led branding of fresh produce packs in store
  • secured extensive PR coverage
  • initiated the multi-award winning “From Farm to Fork” schools education project: over 60k primary school children have spent an educationally structured day on a farm to date

Influenced the farming industry

  • member of the DEFRA sponsored Implementation Group of the Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy, setting a new strategic direction for the industry including a requirement for farmers to connect with their markets
  • implemented industry leading Environmental Management System and species protection project (Habitat Heroes)
  • networked with landowners, government, BBC, EU, industry leaders and grower groups leading to demonstrable change in strategy and communication e.g. CAP Reform implementation, cattle movement process to contain TB and advising Countryfile which is now the most watched factual programme by the BBC
  • speaking engagements including the Oxford Farming Conference, 2011 City Food Lecture, numerous farmer discussion groups, TV and radio