NFU Scotland has appointed James Withers as its new Chief Executive.
James has been with NFUS for eight years and has progressed through
a number of roles, starting as parliamentary adviser in 1999. He
has headed up the Union’s Communications Department for five
years and has been Deputy Chief Executive since 2005.
James succeeds Andy Robertson who left NFUS in February after four
years as Chief Executive to take up a position with East Sussex Council.
James will officially take up post on Monday 7 April.
Announcing the appointment, NFUS President Jim McLaren said:
“I am delighted that, after what has been the most thorough
and exhaustive selection process I have ever been involved in, to
announce the appointment of James Withers to this vital role within
NFUS and Scottish agriculture.
“Some commentators may wonder why the process was required
at all, when the successful candidate was sitting in the same office.
In order for the new Chief Executive, whoever he or she had turned
out to be, to have credibility and a clear mandate, it was essential
that he or she was the best of the best from a field of over 30 candidates
from the UK and beyond.
“James Withers is that person, and he has my full support
and confidence, along with that of the Presidential Team and the
NFUS Board of Directors.”
James Withers said:
“I’m obviously delighted to take up this role at what
is a critical time for the whole industry. This Union has made its
name over nearly a century in providing a powerful voice for the
agricultural industry and rarely has it been more important for that
voice to be heard. There is no escaping the pressures on some sectors
at the moment; regulatory, financial and animal health pressures
are dominating NFUS work just now. But there is also no escaping
the opportunities that stem from a renewed passion in this country
for food and drink and the global trends which have thrust farming
back into the political and public limelight.
“All of this presents a huge challenge for the Union going
forward, but my confidence comes from having a genuinely talented
staff team to work with, both at Ingliston and in our offices across
the country. That, twinned with the enthusiasm and dedication of
the presidential team, Board and every member who sacrifices some
of their time to NFUS, makes me extremely optimistic for the road
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