Organic Research Centre appoints Lucy MacLennan as new CEO

The Organic Research Centre (ORC) is delighted to announce the appointment of Nuffield Scholar Lucy MacLennan as its new CEO

Since the departure of long-standing and well-respected CEO Nic Lampkin last year, Stuart Rogers stepped in as interim CEO and continued to develop the strategic direction of the organisation until Ms MacLennan’s new appointment.

Ms MacLennan brings over 25 years’ experience in the fresh produce sector to the role, including senior leadership and management positions for global retailers and food producers such as Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Kettle Produce.

While working as a senior consultant in food quality, food safety, and food supply chain integrity and innovation, she is also a non-executive director and chair of the fresh produce board at Red Tractor Assurance.

“I’m thrilled and excited to be appointed CEO at the ORC,” says Ms MacLennan. “The work of the organisation to redesign and deliver better farming systems based on organic and agro-ecological principles offers real value to our society.

“I don’t think there’s ever been a time where emphasis on the development of sustainable agricultural practices and organic production methods has been more important. With public awareness of climate change and the environment at an all-time high, there’s enormous potential to further develop the work of the ORC and extend its potential reach and impact.”

Since attaining a postgraduate diploma in agri-food and sustainable supply chains from the University of Nottingham last year, Ms MacLennan has been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to investigate ‘audit and assurance’ in the fresh produce sector, including conflicting agendas between food safety requirements and sustainability initiatives.

“I’m a scientist at heart, so the chance to marry my personal interests and business experience in order to lead such a fantastic and well-respected team at the ORC is a real privilege and I’m committed to continue to build on its pioneering work.”

Mike Turnbull, chairman at the ORC, says Ms MacLennan’s new position marks a significant change in the ORC’s approach to appointing a CEO.

“The ORC’s unique contribution to organic and agroecological practice is its ability to combine scientific excellence with practical experience to deliver real benefits on the ground. In searching for the right candidate, we prioritised broad experience in both farming and the wider food industry, given our strong and respected research capability.

“We also sought an individual with a strong track record in the environmental and sustainability field, with shared values and excellent communication skills. We very much looking forward to Ms MacLennan starting her new role and the undoubted value she’ll bring to the ORC,” concludes Mr Turnbull.

Notes to editors

Issued by: Naomi Hurst, Pinstone e: naomi (at) t: 01568 617668

The Organic Research Centre (ORC) is the UK’s leading independent organic research organisation. Established in 1980, the charity has played a central role in the development of organic food and farming research, knowledge exchange, policy and standard setting. We:

  • Research and develop practical, sustainable land management and food production systems
  • Foster knowledge exchange between researchers, producers, food businesses and related professionals
  • Influence policy and public debates on the future of food and farming based on sound evidence.

Following a strategic review, the ORC is in the process of moving from its current site near Newbury to locate alongside the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester and will officially open for business at the new address, Trent Lodge, 20 January 2020.

Trustees see this as a great opportunity to enhance the ORC’s strategic links and positioning. The ORC’s status as an independent charity will not be affected.


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