More than 55 Chief Executives and business owners from across agribusiness and the food and drink sector gathered in London last week for a special event focused on the role of Non-Executive Directors. The event was organised by Eden Search & Select, the only specialist executive search consultancy focused solely on the food and drink supply chain – with industry heavyweight Richard Macdonald giving the key note address.

Richard Macdonald is one of the leading names in the UK food and farming sector and has had an impressive Executive and Non-Executive and adviser career spanning more than 40 years. From 1996 to 2009, Richard was Director General (CEO) of the NFU before developing his Non-Executive career with Moy Park, Dairy Crest, NIAB, Farm Africa and the Environment Agency – just a few of the high-profile organisations he has worked for.

Richard’s speech at Eden’s dinner provided attendees with advice on Non-Executive Directorships from both an individual and a corporate perspective. For businesses, Richard offered guidance on selecting the right Non-Executive Directors for the boardroom and how best to build a Non-Executive Director portfolio. He provided insights on the challenges facing owner managers and how to find people from within your own network and through a search specialist. He also stressed the importance of:

  • Defining the right mix of skills in your Non-Executive team; it can be a lonely job being a CEO so you need to seek help and make sure you spend time building the right team around you
  • Applying the same level of scrutiny when evaluating Non-Executive candidates as you would Executive candidates
  • Reflecting diversity in your appointments; this is vital but remember to always select the best person
  • Looking outside of your sector in the hunt for talent.

For individuals, Richard’s message was clear: every Director should take up a Non-Executive appointment at some point in their career. Drawing on his own experience, he said Non-Executive roles provide a great opportunity for personal and professional development – if you take up posts that you feel passionate about and where you know you can make a genuine difference.

Commenting, David Macaulay, Managing Director at Eden Search & Select, said: “We are enormously grateful to Richard for giving such an inspiring speech at our Non-Executive dinner. It was fascinating to hear his insights. Richard underlined how much there is to be gained from Non-Executive Directorships, for both individuals and businesses. He highlighted the impact Non-Executive Directors can have at a commercial level and when it comes to mentoring and supporting business leaders, who can find it lonely at the top. His presentation provided everyone in the room with real food for thought and reminded us all that, as a sector, we could be doing more to support individuals interested in taking up these kinds of roles.”

For more information on this event or if you are reviewing your Non-Executive team within the food and drink supply chain and need help, please contact David Macaulay at:

To find out more, please call 0113 834 6634 or request a call back