Noble Foods agricultural director Tom Willings steps down

Noble Foods agriculture director Tom Willings is leaving the company to set up his own food industry consultancy business – Stockwell Holdings – with Noble Foods being his first customer.

In an announcement to staff, managing director of the shell division Anthony Minto explained that Mr Willings would continue to work on behalf of Noble Foods, “looking after our retail customers and representing us within the various industry bodies”.

“During his time with the business, Tom has work tirelessly with our producers and customers, and added a real point of difference,” he said. “I’m very pleased that we will have this continuity as we look to develop the agricultural agenda.”

See also: Free-range egg prices slipping

Responsibilities for Noble’s network of farmers is passing with immediate effect to operations director Patrick Wood, who has been at the helm of the company’s supply chain for the past six years.

“For some time now I have felt that linking up the entire supply chain makes sense to ensure we have full strategic alignment,” explained Mr Minto. “Patrick and his team have worked extremely hard over the past 18 months on supply and demand to ensure the business runs efficiently.”

Mr Willings, who joined Noble Foods in November 2010 following an 11-year career with global flower supplier Mavuno, said he had enjoyed “tremendous support and encouragement from the company throughout”.

At Noble, he has been in charge of both contracted and company-owned farms, and has worked closely with retail customers, including helping to develop the “feed-linked” egg contract with Tesco last year.

In a note to retailers he insisted “normal service will continue unabated – in fact I will have more time to dedicate to our projects”.

Mr Willings, who lives in Hampshire with his young family, is a keen sportsman. According to his LinkedIn page, he is also a non-executive director of The Adventurists – a Bristol-based adventure tourism business “fighting to make the world less boring”.