Chief executive of Premier Foods Gavin Darby has been elected Food and Drink Federation (FDF) president 2017.
Darby succeeds Dame Fiona Kendrick, CEO and chairman of Nestlé UK and Ireland. Increasing FDF's efforts to address the skills gap was one of Kendrick's main priorities. She initiated the first industry-led Food Engineering Degree course at Sheffield Hallam University, and secured National Productivity Investment Fund during her presidency.
Darby will take on his duties in January next year.
He said: "I'm honoured to be taking on the role of president at this time. It's never been more important for our industry to have a strong representative body as we look to play our full part in helping tackle the obesity challenge and plan for a future outside the EU. I strongly believe there are opportunities ahead for British food and drink manufacturing and I look forward to engaging constructively with government to deliver benefits for the industry, our consumers, colleagues and the wider UK economy."
Kendrick added: "It has been my pleasure to be FDF president over the past two years. The organisation has come a long way in that time, and has re-established itself as a strong and clear voice for our industry.
"President-elect Gavin Darby has already made a valuable contribution to driving forward FDF's priority areas as Chair of the Food Engineering Industrial Advisory Board for the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering. Gavin is an articulate and determined champion of the food and drink industry and I believe he is very well placed to lead the next chapter in FDF's development. I wish him every success in his new role."