LMC undergoes major overhaul
Published:  10 June, 2011

A search is under way for a new chief executive to represent the red meat industry of Northern Ireland, following a major restructuring operation involving senior management redundancies.

The Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) of Northern Ireland has streamlined its services to adopt a more focused commercial approach on behalf of stakeholders paying an annual £1m in levies. As well as several senior staff retirements, including former chief executive David Rutledge, redundancies attached to the restructuring include three among senior management. International marketing services
have been transferred to Invest NI, while LMC’s classification service has been axed due to its replacement by video image analysis.

PwC has been appointed to recruit the new chief executive, who will be paid in the region of £50,000 per annum and will assume respon-sibility for local marketing.

LMC will now focus on four core areas: providing current market information through bulletins and text services; administering the Farm Quality Assurance scheme; offering technical services; and supporting a schools’ programme and local promotional activity.

A strategic review of LMC was launched by the region’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in August 2009. In January 2011, then-Northern Irish agriculture minister Michelle Gildernew announced that LMC — a non-departmental body reporting to DARD — would be reformed within its existing framework.

Both the LMC board and Ulster Farmers’ Union are seeking privatisation, to free the body from European Commission regulations limiting promotional activity. However, while not ruling it out in the future, the minister said budget cuts left DARD unable to consider the £5m in resource costs associated with privatisation at this time, including pension cessation liabilities. Chairman Pat O’Rourke said the body is now working with DARD to make it as commercial as possible within its present structure.

O’Rourke said: “Good progress is being made on the issues of access to reserves and accounting procedure and I look forward to bringing these and the pensions issue to a successful conclusion soon. The board looks forward to the appointment [of a chief executive], completing the team to deliver this programme on behalf of LMC and our levy payers.”