Food and Drink North East announces five key appointments to its board of directors, with industry experts Ian Wright, Kellie Campbell, Keiran McBride, Susan Justice and Dot Smith joining as non-executive Directors.
Ian Wright CBE is a business manager, Board adviser and non-executive director with three decades of experience in leading positions in the food and drink industry. He is currently Chair of the British Government’s Food & Drink Sector Council (the principal advisory body for food and drink policy). Previously in senior management and executive-level roles at The Boots Company, Diageo plc and the UK Food & Drink Federation, where he was Chief Executive from 2015-2022.
Ian has also been a member of several UK Government Commissions, including HMG’s Trade & Agriculture Commission (2020-21), leading organisational reviews for the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Defence. He now leads Flint Global’s food and drink practice and is Deputy Chair of Hume Brophy. He was awarded the CBE for political and public service in 2015.
”It’s a particular honour to have been asked to join the board of Food & Drink North East. I look forward to deploying my experience to create a vibrant organisation, able to represent the industry and provide practical help, advice and support for our members in the challenging months to come.“
Kellie Campbell is Faculty Director for Business Professional, Employability and Service Enterprises at Sunderland College, where she is responsible for the hospitality provision’s intent, implementation and impact. Throughout her time, student numbers have almost doubled, engagement with employers has increased through industry placement opportunities and events, and participation in external competitions has helped raise the profile of hospitality within the college and the Sunderland area.
“I believe it is vitally important to the industry that Education providers have strong links with a wide range of producers, restaurateurs and industry professionals, as it is the skills and training providers that produce the professionals of the future. Without the employer links, the curriculum cannot be informed to ensure the right skills, attitudes and behaviours are developed for future needs. I see FADNE as a critical stakeholder in championing local food producers, reducing food mileage, shortening supply chains and increasing sustainability, all of which are of particular interest to me and align with the vision of Hospitality at Sunderland College.”
Kieran McBride has worked with the renowned retailer Fenwick for over 16 years in various capacities and is currently Store Director for Fenwick Newcastle. He initially studied law but has been immersed in product for the past 20 years as Head of Buying and Buying Director for Fenwick.
“I have always loved working with products, bringing newness to market and delivering commercial results. Food and drink is a critical part of our business at Fenwick, and we are proud to be part of such a diverse sector across the Newcastle region. I am delighted to be working with FADNE, helping to continue driving this focus across the region and supporting the wider business community.”
Susan Justice is Head of Business Development at BidFood. Susan has 38 years of experience in the food and drink industry and is passionate about our region and the hard-working, innovative people who work in our industry.
“We are a sleeping giant in terms of local producers, and I truly believe FADNE can realise this potential given the right support. I am committed to using my experience and business skills to help FADNE grow and develop into the industry leader in this sector. I am excited about the future and know FADNE will make a positive difference for many years to come.”
Dot Smith is the CEO of Recovery Connections, a Lived Experience Recovery Organisation based in Middlesbrough and operates across the North East. She is a Winston Churchill Fellow, which allowed her to research collegiate recovery and the support of students in recovery within Higher Education. She created the first model outside of North America and is the current North East Charity Leader of the Year.
In addition to the core charity, she has developed a social enterprise offering employment and training opportunities for people facing barriers to employment. The social enterprise businesses consist of a café, catering van, event space and florist based in Middlesbrough. She believes hospitality settings play a crucial economic and social role in communities, offering space to reduce loneliness and keeping people connected.
“I am delighted to join the board of FADNE. The North East as a region has much to be proud of. The social aspect of the hospitality sector and food industry is at the heart of local communities. We must support businesses to ensure they continue to play a vital part in local and regional economies.”
The move to bolster both FADNE’s board and governance structure is a significant step in delivering on its vision and mission as the organisation enters its fourth year as the region’s leading trade cluster for the food and drink sector.