Active CV

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Christine Tacon CBE


I am an experienced executive and non-executive director and a government regulator. I combine strategic leadership with a good, practical understanding of both private and public sectors. I have a strong commercial background in fast moving consumer goods, the environment and farming and have extensive communications and media experience. I am committed to promoting engineering and agriculture as careers and I run a network helping women achieve their potential in agriculture.

Strategic planning
Change management
Board governance
Public/private sector
Environment
Media communications
Engineering
Agriculture

Current Board and Committee Roles

Groceries Code Adjudicator a BIS Ministerial Appointment (2013-present)
The role was created to encourage, enforce and monitor adherence to the Groceries Supply Code of Practice by the 10 UK grocery retailers with turnover >£1bn in dealing with their direct suppliers. I have the power to launch investigations and to impose sanctions, including penalties up to 1% of UK turnover. The UK is unique in having a regulator and legally binding Code, so I am consulted by the European Commission and other countries facing the same supply chain issues.

  • Considerable public profile achieved, building awareness amongst suppliers to raise issues
  • Pioneered working in a collaborative way as a regulator, as well as using investigative powers
  • Demonstrable success in changing retailer behaviour and improving compliance
  • Completed investigation into Tesco plc
  • 2 arbitrations complete and 2 in progress

This is a 3 day/week position supported by an office staffed by civil servants on secondment.

Chair Management Development Services (MDS) Ltd (May 2016)
An organisation running a 2 year graduate training programme on behalf of its members who are produce growers and processors in the food chain.

Non-Executive Director Anglia Farmers (Co-opted), Chair of RemCo and NomCo (2012 to present)
A £250m farmer-controlled co-operative, co-ordinating the purchase of inputs and products to its 4000 members across the UK. AF has experienced substantial growth over 10 years.

  • Encouraged and established board committees and best practice in talent management
  • Driven joint board and executive strategic planning, focusing on growth

Member Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) (2012, ending 2017)
NERC has a crucial role in directing where research is needed and funded. It includes the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, National Oceanographic Centre, British Antarctic Survey and British Geological Survey.

  • Ensured industry is represented and understood on a board mostly made up of scientists

BBC Rural Affairs Advisory Committee, Chair 3 days p.a. (2005 to present)
The meetings are attended by producers and researchers of programmes such as BBC News, Costing the Earth and Countryfile. Our role is to ensure the programmes remain topical and accurate.

Previous Board and Taskforce Memberships

NED Met Office 2013-2106 (Board and member of Audit and Risk Committee, RemCo andNomCo)

NED Ursula Agriculture 2013-2016 a technology start-up analysing satellite and drone data

Governor Harper Adams University 2012-2106

Chair Food and Drink Engineering Forum 2012-2014 across IMechE, IChemE, IBD, IFST, IET

Chair 2011 Oxford Farming Conference, Director 2009-2011

NED Farmway 2012-2013, a farm supply business which we sold

NED Rural Payments Agency, Audit & Risk Committee member DEFRA 2001-2009

Public Member Network Rail 2012-2015

DEFRA Regulatory Challenge Panel Member 2011- 2015, including legislation on water abstraction

Member Living with Environmental Change (LWEC) Business Advisory Board 2012-2014

Member Rabobank Agricultural Advisory Board 2004-2011

Member Implementation Group of the Strategy for the Future of Food and Farming DEFRA 2003-2006

Sub-group Chair Food Growing in Schools Taskforce to DEFRA, DoE, DoH 2011-2012

Sub-group Chair Fruit and Vegetable Taskforce to DEFRA, DoH 2009-2010

Trustee Forum for the Future 2003-2006

Executive experience 1982 to 2012

11 years in the Co-operative Group as Managing Director of the Co-operative Farms (now owned by the Wellcome Trust), including a year on the Co-operative Food Executive Board

  • Credited with turning round the farming business, losing £6m p.a, to one of the most respected farming businesses in the UK, in 2011 making £6m profit
  • Integrated production vertically into packing and branded produce in Co-op stores
  • Encouraged co-operation in machinery sharing, input purchasing and focus on R&D
  • Initiated the award-winning “From Farm to Fork” project which has had over 250k school children spend an educational day on a farm and Habitat Heroes, a project enhancing the environment for red-listed species on the farms
  • The farm sold at £50m premium to the value of the land, which I perceive as the value I added

 

12 years in fast moving consumer goods: brand management with Mars Confectionery and Vodafone and Marketing Director at Anchor Foods (now Fonterra)

  • Launched the Tracker brand at Mars Confectionery and created the Milky Way advertising still known to children today (through You Tube). Was one of the first engineers to be recruited into marketing and used my analysis of data to make significant differences in strategy.
  • Created the Free Range butter campaign for Anchor which ran for 15 years
  • Worked as a consultant for Vodafone for a year on their National Lottery bid

 

5 years in engineering with Coats Viyella (Germany, France, UK) and Marketing Director, Redland Bricks

  • 3 years at Coats Viyella in Dynacast, the high precision zinc die-casting subsidiary mainly supplying the motor industry. Trainee then Quality Assurance Manager
  • Redland Bricks was owned by Redland plc, I was the only female director in the plc. I used traditional marketing skills to increase margins considerably in the bricks business.

 

The Co-operative Group, Managing Director Co-operative Farms 2000-2012
New Zealand Dairy Board (now Fonterra), Commercial Director Anchor Foods UK 1996-2000
Redland Plc, Marketing Director Redland Bricks 1994-1996
Vodafone, Marketing Consultant to National Lottery Bid 1993-1994
Wang UK, Marketing Director 1992-1993
Mars Confectionery, Marketing Manager, Production Planner 1985-1992
Coats Viyella, Quality Manager Dynacast UK, Trainee Dynacast Germany, France 1982-1985

Awards/Education/Interests

Honorary Professor, Harper Adams University 2016

Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, Cranfield University 2014

CBE for Services to Agriculture in 2004

Chartered Engineer, FIMechE, FIAgrE, FRSA, FRAgS, Chartered Environmentalist
MBA Cranfield University

MEng and MA Cambridge University, Production Engineering

Fluent French and German speaker, basic Spanish

Vintage and veteran cars: participant in London to Brighton Veteran Car Run in a 1903 Autocar. Christine Tacon - London-Brighton-2011

Enjoy narrowboating, dog-walking, vegetable growing, cross-country skiing and adventure holidays.