The Food and Drink Federation has today (Wednesday) appointed Melanie Leech as Director General. She will take up the post on 15 August 2005.  

Melanie Leech has held senior positions in government departments including the Cabinet Office and Department for Culture Media and Sport. In addition she has served as a board member of the Office of the Rail Regulator, and was executive director of the Association of Police Authorities (APA) between 2001 and 2004. 

"FDF plays a pivotal role in representing the interests of the industry and in contributing to the safe and successful development of the UK's food supply chain," said FDF president Gavin Neath. "Melanie Leech joins the organisation at an important time both for the industry and for the federation."

"Her experience in policy development, and leadership of a large membership organisation as well as her knowledge of UK and EU Government make her uniquely qualified to represent the industry at a time of great change both at home and abroad," he said. "She is exactly the right person to take the Food and Drink Federation into the future."

"I am proud to have been chosen to represent the interests of our food and drink manufacturers at such a challenging time," said Melanie Leech. "The industry, the UK's largest manufacturing sector, is crucial to Britain both economically and socially. I look forward to working with Government, the food chain and with all stakeholders."

Gavin Neath paid tribute to current Director General Sylvia Jay.  "Sylvia Jay has provided outstanding leadership for FDF during a period of unprecedented political and social focus on our industry," he said. "During that period she has strengthened FDF organisationally and financially; built and maintained links with the rest of the food chain, and overseen a step change in the level and quality of our industry's representation."

"She is highly respected both internationally and throughout the entire food chain. On behalf of the UK food and drink manufacturing industry I thank her and wish her well in her new challenges," he said.

"It has been a great privilege to work with this wonderful industry at a time of enormous change," said Sylvia Jay. "I am glad to say that FDF is well placed to face the challenges of the future."