News archive

Below is a list of archive news items. For recent updates, see Latest news.

1st January 2012 Harper Adams University

I have accepted an invitation to be a Governor at Harper Adams.

2nd January 2012 Farmway Ltd

I am now an Independent Non Executive Director of Farmway Ltd and have had my first board meeting.

1st February 2012 LWEC Review

Living with Environmental Change was set up to coordinate the work of the Research Councils. It is customary to have reviews of effectiveness and I have been invited onto the panel to look into this. It will be an interesting exercise as I have only just joined the Business Advisory Board arm of LWEC and finding out the extent to which it is living up to its remit is a good place to start.

1st May 2012 UK Farming PLC

I’ve accepted the chairmanship of the above which is being set up by Brooks Macdonald Asset Management as a means for private individuals to invest in land ownership and farming.

30th May 2012 UK Farming plc official launch

> Press release
> Request prospectus

1st June 2012 BBC Food and Farming Awards

I am a judge of the BBC Food and Farming Awards Farmer of the Year (with Adam Henson from Countryfile) as well as the Big Food Idea category.

> Food and Farming Awards website

2nd June 2012 Farmers Weekly “Farmers Apprentice” competition

I am a judge of the Farmers Weekly “Farmers Apprentice” competition involving a one week boot camp of apprentices undertaking relevant farming tasks sponsored by McDonald’s.
Farmers Apprentice website

2nd September 2012 Anglia Farmers – Non Executive Director

I have been co-opted as a Non Executive Director of Anglia Farmers, the £250m turnover buying group commencing Sept 2012.
> Anglia Farmers Limited

22nd October 2012 - 26th October 2012 Farmers Weekly Farmers Apprentice judging

Bootcamp at Reaseheath College to judge the 10 finalists to be the Farmers Weekly farm apprentice. Winner gets £10k.

All confidential as it was all filmed and will be released end November on-line, building up to who has won, which will be announced on Dec 5th. The winner doesn’t know either!

1st November 2012 Network Rail – Public member

I have been accepted as a Public Member of Network Rail: there are about 40 Public Members who act as shareholders, serving a 3 year term commencing Nov 2012.

> Network Rail: Our Members

21st January 2013 Appointed Groceries Code Adjudicator

Consumer and Competition Minister Jo Swinson today announced that Christine Tacon has been appointed to the newly created role as the independent Groceries Code Adjudicator.

In her new role, Christine will be responsible for enforcing the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which regulates interactions between the ten largest supermarkets with an annual turnover of >£1bn and their direct suppliers.

> GCA appt- Press Notice

For media coverage, see Media

27th February 2013 BIS Select Committee approves my appointment to GCA

The Business Industry and Skills (BIS) Select Committee, who have scrutinised the Grocery Code Adjudicator Bill, asked for a pre-appointment hearing to meet the Government’s proposed candidate for the post of Groceries Code Adjudicator. This was a specially convened meeting in the House of Commons, which lasted an hour with questions on my experience and how I was going to approach the role. The full script will be made available, I currently have the draft to correct for typos. It was filmed and mentioned on Today in Parliament

17th April 2013 Included in the 2013 Cranfield ‘100 Women to Watch’ list

I’ve been included in the 2013 ‘100 Women to Watch’ report, published by Cranfield University’s International Centre for Women Business Leaders (‘CICWL’). The report complements the Centre’s ‘Female FTSE Report’, which measures the number of women executive directors on the corporate boards of the UK’s top 100 companies.

> More about the CICWL


> 100 Women to Watch Report

25th April 2013 Royal Assent for Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill



The Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill was given Royal Assent today, creating the UK’s first independent adjudicator to oversee the relationship between large supermarkets and their direct suppliers. 

Competition Minister Jo Swinson said: 

“This Government is committed to ensuring that all businesses have access to fair and open markets. 

“The Groceries Code Adjudicator will make sure that large supermarkets abide by the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, and treat their suppliers fairly and lawfully. This will give suppliers the stability to help them grow, innovate and compete in the market.  That is why I’m delighted the Bill achieved Royal Assent today. 

“I am sure that the Adjudicator will make strides towards delivering fairer food supply chains and stronger growth in the industry.”

Full press release here:[]=all&departments[]=department-for-business-innovation-skills&world_locations[]=all&direction=before&date=2013-05-01&commit=Refresh+results

30th June 2013 Member of Natural Environment Research Council

I have been increasingly involved in NERC and BBSRC in the past 18 months to increase awareness of the potential of engineering in agriculture and to ensure that research fits the “sustainable intensification” of agriculture agenda for future food security. I am delighted that they think I can add value to the Council.

30th June 2013 Non Executive Director of Met Office

There was a hold up approving one of the other new NEDs, so this has been a while getting out. I have been to a board meeting and had an induction, a wonderful outfit to be part of and loads of potential.


Text of the press release:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Wendy Barnes, Christine Tacon, David Burridge and Sir John Beddington as Non-Executive Directors. They will join Paul Rew (Non-Executive Director), David Curley (Shareholder Executive Advisor) and the senior Met Office Executives in comprising the Met Office Board.

The new Non-Executive Directors bring a wide range of knowledge and expertise that will help the Met Office meet its corporate plan objectives. They will help support us in the provision of weather and climate services that help Government, the public and commercial customers achieve their goals through enabling protection, increasing prosperity and improving well-being. I am very much looking forward to working with the new Board, utilising the members’ diverse range of skills and experience to best meet the challenges posed by climate, weather and the international economic situation in the coming years.

Chief Executive John Hirst has commented: “It’s really good that we have been able to attract such high calibre people. I am confident that the new Board composition will provide strong support and constructive challenge to the Executive.”

It is with great thanks that I mark the retirement of Sir Brian Hoskins and Mike Goodfellow for the support, guidance and intelligent advice they have contributed to the Met Office Board over the years and wish them both all the best for the future.

Greg Clarke
Met Office Chairman


31st July 2013 GCA consultation launched

1st August 2013 Australian Supermarket Symposium video

I couldn’t attend so we made this video in a lunch break to help them out. Apparently it went down very well

15th November 2013 Rich Pickings: Harvesting Scotland’s potential in the food and drink industry


I am giving the keynote address entitled ‘The role of the Groceries Code Adjudicator’ at Perth Racecourse.

Registration is now open for delegates.  Register your place now:

The conference is sponsored by Brodies solicitors and will be promoted by ScottishLand & Estates, National Farmers Union, FoodDrinkEurope and the Scotch Whisky Association.


26th November 2013 Toughen up: what Australia’s supermarket code could learn from the UK

This is an interesting opinion piece by Professor Caron Beaton-Wells drawing attention to the weaknesses of the Australian code as compared to the UK model.


17th January 2014 BBC Any Questions

Joining panel with Jonathan Dimbleby, Andrew Mitchell MP, Andy Burnham, Tony Caldeira in Southport

3rd May 2014 GCA Bristol Food Festival BBC Costing the Earth debate

I have been asked to participate in the debate which will be recorded on 3rd for playing out on May 5th

22nd May 2014 GCA Hay Festival Food Security and Labelling Debate 22th May

I have been asked numerous times to speak at this Festival but always too late to get in my diary. Last year we put the date in straight away.
Speaking alongside Prof Tim Benton Champion for Global Food Security.
I have never been to the Festival so am looking forward to this but it will cost people £4 to hear us on the Good Energy Stage at 1700

24th May 2014 - 26th May 2014 Groceries Code Survey still open

The YouGov survey is staying open for entries over the bank holiday weekend. So if you haven’t entered you still
If you want to know more first, visit the website and you can link from there too.

19th June 2014 Anglia Farmers AGM

Following the board meeting at 1200

23rd June 2014 - 24th June 2014 Groceries Code Adjudicator Conference 23rd (and 24th) June 2014

June 23rd: One day conference QEII Conference Centre Westminster.

June 24th: Activities for overseas visitors

Flyer – GCA Conference CT-final

5th October 2014 Worshipful Company sheep drive over London Bridge

Maybe an ancient right, maybe not, but good fun and all to raise money for charity.


Driving sheep on London Bridge

9th October 2014 Pinsent Masons North West women in business event GCA

I am the guest speaker

5th February 2015 Tacon launches investigation into Tesco plc

Refer to GCA website

6th February 2015 GCA Newsletter published

Newsletter Edition 2

1st July 2015 Network Rail Public Members disbanded

Following a statement in the House of Commons on 25th June by the Secretary of State, the role of Public Members ceases to exist from July 1st. Given the AGM was scheduled for the 15th July, this came as a surprise on timing, but it was clear that there was too much Governance once the debt was classified as government debt and the Dept of Transport became involved in Network Rail oversight and Governance.

The 46 Public Members will have a final meeting on 14th July to be thanked for our contribution.

My term of office was due to cease in November 2015 and I had not applied to serve a second term.



20th July 2015 GCA Annual report published
7th August 2015 GCA Newsletter published
18th November 2015 GCA 5th newsletter published
26th January 2016 GCA Investigation into Tesco plc published

The full report can be found at (from 1000)

4th March 2016 Food and Drink Wales suppliers symposium, Aberystwyth

A symposium organised in conjunction with the Welsh government to update suppliers on the work of the GCA.

I will make time to have private discussions with suppliers who want to raise issues with me.

14th April 2016 GCA Investigation Report into Tesco plc, Edinburgh

An event organised with the support of SF&D and SFDF for suppliers to hear about the GCA role, the recent investigation and with surgery sessions for suppliers afterwards who want a private talk with the adjudicator

25th April 2016 GCA Investigation Report into Tesco plc, Belfast

An event organised with the support of NIFDA for suppliers to hear about the GCA role, the recent investigation and with surgery sessions for suppliers afterwards who want a private talk with the adjudicator

1st May 2016 Met Office Non Executive Director role ends

After 3 exciting years being on the Met Office board, I will leave at the end of May. 4 of us were appointed at the same time and best practice is that boards rotate (ideally not all at once…) and other people are given a chance. The decision was understandably made to keep the 2 scientists on the board so I am leaving but wishing them all the best. It is a fantastic organisation, world leading and now is midway through a £97m project to install a super-computer. Well set for the future.

3rd May 2016 Appointed Chair MDS Ltd

The MDS Ltd board of Directors has appointed Christine Tacon CBE as Chair, effective from May 3 2016.

Christine has extensive produce industry experience.  She managed the Co-operative Group’s farming business for 11 years and was awarded a CBE for services to Agriculture in 2004. Prior to this, Christine worked within Mars Confectionery, Fonterra and Vodafone, and has demonstrated her commitment to the next generation through Ladies in Agriculture.  In 2015 she was appointed as the first Groceries Code Adjudicator

Christine brings to MDS her ability to combine strategic leadership with practical understanding of both private and public sectors. This is backed by a strong commercial background in fast-moving consumer goods, farming and the environment and extensive communications experience in high-profile roles.

Julius Joel, Director and former MDS trainee said: “It is great that Christine has agreed to help us take MDS to its next level.  Her experience and energy will help the business strengthen its service to its member companies, re-invigorate its training platform and build on the unique management development program we offer.”


About Management Development Serviced Ltd (MDS)


Since its inception in 1986 MDS has established itself as a leading training provider for talented graduates in the fresh food and produce industry. MDS has expanded steadily as companies seek to safeguard the future by attracting the right calibre of talent into the produce industry.


Today, MDS has 30 member companies with activities that encompass the whole supply chain of vegetables, salads, fruit, flowers, plants, arable and prepared food products in the UK and internationally. A strong list of new membership applications now highlight the interest in what is now seen as a ‘model’ for specialist management training. MDS is an independent non-profit making organisation whose aim is to recruit and train the very best people to secure the future of this fast-changing industry. The strength of MDS comes from members working in partnership with a common goal, even though some may be competitors in the commercial world. MDS is run by a Board of Directors appointed from within the membership, with day-to-day management support from a team based in Peterborough.


6th May 2016 Honorary Professorship from Harper Adams University

I have been awarded an Honorary Professorship which entails giving a couple of lectures a year at the University: I am humbled by the honour and pleased to maintain an ongoing link with the University.

Until the end of April I was a Governor but felt I no longer had time to do this role justice: there is also a potential conflict in that Harper Adams accredits the MDS Post Graduate Certificate.

I will continue to support Harper Adams University which this year was voted Number One in the WhatUni Awards!

19th June 2017 MDS Meet the Trainees and IGD MasterClass

A twice yearly opportunity for MDS members to meet the trainees.

Trainees present for one minute what they are looking for in their next secondment. There is a book of all their summary CVs.

Members give a short overview of the secondments they are offering.

IGD will run a Masterclass afterwards. 


Old Barn Peterborough