Scotland Food & Drink CEO to step down

The CEO of industry body Scotland Food & Drink (SF&D), James Withers, has announced he is stepping down from the post after nearly 11 years.

However, Withers will remain with the organisation over the coming months to support the search for his successor and ensure a “successful transition”.

He is expected to step down as CEO around the end of August.

Withers joined the company in 2011. Prior joining the industry body, he held the position of CEO of NFU Scotland, and remains as a board member at The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), a role he held since January 2013.

According to Withers, it has been a “huge privilege” to be in the role for over a decade, and was a “difficult decision” to step down.

READ MORE: Aldi invests £24m in new Scotland branches 

He said: “All that has been successful in food and drink in Scotland has come from collaboration and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the board, our partners and the wider industry that have supported me in the job.

“So many in government and business have been willing to work in partnership with the SF&D team and I to try and build Scotland’s reputation for food and drink, both here and internationally.

“It’s never easy to know when the right time is to step down. But ahead of the development of a new industry strategy towards the end of the year, and with a strong foundation in place, this feels right.”

He added: “I am not leaving for some months yet and there is a huge amount of work ongoing to develop the industry, respond to food security challenges and deal with the cost pressures on the sector right now.”

SF&D chair, Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne concluded: “James has made a transformational contribution to our organisation and his impact has been felt across the food and drink sector in Scotland.”

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