AHDB chief executive Jane King has announced she will step down from the role within the next 12 months.
Ms King, who was Farmers Weekly editor from 2005 until the end of 2014, said she will be stepping down no later than the end of September 2021, or before if a successor can be found sooner.
The AHDB’s new five-year strategy and business plans are complete and will shortly go out for consultation, and its change programme is underway.
Ms King felt now was a good time to begin to hand the leadership baton over to someone fresh to deliver the next phase of levy body’s development.
In the meantime, she will work closely with the chairman, Nicholas Saphir, the board and the leadership team to continue to reform AHDB in line with the commitments it has made to improve levy-payer engagement and value for money.
Ms King’s focus will continue on leading the strategic change programme. This includes consulting with industry on the new strategy, developing the business plans and new programmes, progressing action on its response to the request for views, and continuing to deliver real positive impact for industry.
Recruitment of a new CEO will begin immediately and there will be a handover period before Ms King leaves to ensure a smooth transition.
Ms King said she was keen to have a break with her family next year before continuing to support the industry in other ways in the future.
“It has been a great privilege to lead an incredible team at AHDB and to work with inspirational farmers, growers and partners to deliver our programmes and services. The commitment and dedication of AHDB colleagues has been amazing,” she said.
“The new five-year strategy will see AHDB playing a crucial role in helping to grow British agriculture and horticulture at a time of great change and opportunity.
“I would like to thank all those colleagues, stakeholders, partners, board members and levy-payers who have shown me so much support and encouragement over the last five and a half years. You’ve been awesome.”