Scotland Food & Drink welcomes new chairman

Scotland Food & Drink, the industry leadership body for the country’s farming, fishing, food and drink sector, has just announced the appointment of Dennis Overton as its new Chairman.

Overton (pictured) will take up post from 1 April 2018, following David Kilshaw’s retirement as Chairman after completion of his three-year term. Overton has been appointed by the Board as its new Chairman following three years as its Vice Chair and he is one of the founding directors of the organisation. He has been on the Board since 2007.

Dennis co-founded Scottish seafood business Aquascot in 1987 and now chairs the board of the Trust which owns the business on behalf of the 200 employees. Overton chaired the UK Soil Association from 2014 to 2017 and he was awarded an OBE in 2014 for contributions to economic development in the Highlands and Rwanda.

David Kilshaw steps down as Chair having been involved in Scotland Food & Drink since its conception. David chaired the Industry Strategy Group that led to the creation of Scotland Food & Drink. As well as being a founding Director of the organisation, he was its Vice Chairman for seven years, before being appointed its Chair in 2015.

Kilshaw continues to play a leading role in the sector as Chief Executive of Insignia Technologies, the world-leading, smart packaging business which is at the forefront of the fight against food waste. He also continues as Chairman of seafood business Joseph Robertson and free-from bakery business Lazy Day Foods. In 2006, David received an OBE for services to the Scottish food and drink industry.

Kilshaw said, “It has been a privilege to have been at the heart of Scotland Food & Drink’s journey over the last ten years - it was a pioneering concept of leadership and collaboration between the industry, the government and its agencies. The success of the organisation is one I am immensely proud of and it is down to the hard work of many people that I have had the good fortune to work with around our Board table and across industry and public sector bodies.

“The small group of us that developed the concept of Scotland Food & Drink hoped it would drive forward the industry. However, it has surpassed even my high expectations and it is now recognised as a model to follow. There is much work still to do and, in Dennis, the organisation has exactly the leadership it needs to build on the strong platform we now have.

“I would like to thank the Board, the staff of Scotland Food & Drink and our many partners for all their support and commitment over the last ten years.”

Overton said, “Our food and drink industry has gone from static growth ten years ago to becoming the best performing sector in Scotland’s economy. David Kilshaw’s leadership has been central to that. He had a vision for a collaborative leadership body, to forge a deep partnership cross industry and the public sector and drive a new era of growth. We have seen that vision become a reality in recent years and we have the strongest ever platform to now build on.

“Our Board and the industry owes David a debt of gratitude for his commitment not only over the last ten years but in the many years that led up to the creation of the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership.

“There are of course challenges ahead, with the implications of Brexit at the forefront of minds. However, we remain hugely ambitious for the sector’s potential. Ambition 2030 charts a path to doubling the size of our sector by 2030 and making it a force for good across Scotland’s economy, environment and communities. I look forward to working with the Board, staff team and our partners to delivering on that ambition.”