Chair of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

Body: Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB)
Appointing Department: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Sector: Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Location: Board meetings will be mainly held at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: A non-pensionable remuneration of £55,000 per annum
Time Requirements: A minimum time commitment of 104 days per year


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Nicholas Saphir has been appointed as the new Chair of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) for a three-year term with effect from 1 April 2020.

Date: 17/03/2020

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    29/10/2019 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement

    17/03/2020 at 12:00


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The role of Chair of the main Board is to provide strategic direction to the AHDB Board members and have oversight of the whole organisation. The Chair is being recruited during a time of considerable change for the farming industry.

AHDB was formed in 2008, and is currently under review. Implementation of the review recommendations will form a crucial element of the role.

The Chair will drive forward and implement recommendations made by Defra Ministers on the future purpose and functions of AHDB. This follows a Request for Views on AHDB conducted in autumn 2018.

• Provide strategic direction to AHDB and inspirational leadership to the AHDB Board and senior staff team.

• Develop AHDB’s role post EU exit and future strategic direction.

• Design and deliver an ambitious change programme that reflects future Ministerial recommendations for the future of AHDB.

• Provide leadership for an industry-wide ambition to increase productivity sustainably, in the context of radical farming policy reform, an ambitious global trade agenda, and the challenges of both contributing to Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change.

• Provide direction to AHDB to drive industry best practice and resilience to ensure it is in the best shape for the future, following the UK’s exit from the European Union.

• Ensure that the values of good governance are upheld, particularly with regard to levy-funded activities.

• Ensure delivery of AHDB’s aims and objectives as set out in legislation and AHDB’s corporate strategy.

• Maintain excellent working relations with the UK Government through Defra, Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and sector stakeholders.

• Deliver outstanding value for money for the AHDB levy payers.

• Increase levy payers’ interaction with and awareness of AHDB

Person Specification

• Influential leadership, experience in Board governance and a proven ability to drive organisational change.

• Ability to think strategically and develop a long-term vision for the organisation.

• Skills and ability to communicate clearly and convincingly within the organisation and with stakeholders, the media and a range of public and private sector organisations.

• An understanding of the food and farming industry.

Additional Information

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is a UK-wide Non-Departmental Public Body which was established on 1st April 2008 under the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board Order 2008.

AHDB has a central role in helping the industries it covers become more competitive and sustainable. It does this through knowledge transfer, research and development, market intelligence and market development. In short, AHDB is an organisation with a purpose to add value to its levy payers by providing tools that enable them to grow their businesses sustainably.
The overall aim of AHDB is to ensure it becomes the Centre of Agricultural Excellence for the industry and provides a top class service to levy payers that represents a positive return on their investment.

AHDB currently serves the six sectors of:

1. Pig meat in England.

2. Beef and lamb in England.

3. Horticulture in Great Britain.

4. Milk in Great Britain.

5. Potatoes in Great Britain.

6. Cereals and oilseeds in the United Kingdom.

Each industry sector has an Advisory Board made up of members (predominantly levy payers) appointed by AHDB, together with a Chair whom Ministers have appointed to the Board of AHDB. AHDB has delegated to each sector board functions they must deliver, the duty to develop the most appropriate strategies to meet the challenges of the sector, and the role of ensuring the relevant levy rate is recommended to AHDB to provide adequate funding for the required work.

AHDB is a public body accountable to levy payers, Ministers of Departments across government and for levy expenditure across the sectors above. It has formal legal responsibility to impose and raise levy at rates approved by Government for common planning, budgeting and performance monitoring across the sectors and for the provision of services to each of the industry sectors.

In autumn 2018, Defra in conjunction with the devolved administrations, carried out a request for views from levy payers and others about AHDB. The findings of this will inform a review of the AHDB which will make recommendations for its future role, function and structure.

We actively encourage applications from individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. Defra is a Disability Confident employer.

How to Apply

All candidates are required to complete the following forms:

• Monitoring form 1 (Conflicts of Interest, Conduct and Political Activity Questionnaire)

• Monitoring form 2 (Diversity Monitoring Questionnaire)

Candidates should submit their CV with education, professional qualifications and employment history and the names and contact details for two referees, together with their statement of suitability.

The statement of suitability should give evidence of the strength and depth of your ability to meet the essential criteria for this role. Please provide specific examples to demonstrate how you meet each of the criteria (max two pages please).

Your CV and statement should be returned to the following address by the closing date: 12.00 (midday) 22 October 2019. Email to quoting reference APPT08-19.

1_Candidate Pack -AHDB Chair
2_Monitoring form 1 (Conflicts of Interest and Political Activity)
3_Monitoring form 2 (Diversity)
4_Public Appointments Guidance notes
5_Public Appointments-Privacy Notice
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