New head at FSA

Tim Smith is to take over as chief executive of the Food Standards Agency.

Smith, 52, a former chief executive of Arla Foods UK, one of the country's leading dairy businesses, will take up his new post in 2008, replacing John Harwood.

Dame Deirdre Hutton, chair of the FSA said: "It's tremendous news that Tim is joining us. A scientist by background he has close links to both the retail and agricultural sectors and, of course, a great track record in running a major UK food business.

"We work closely with consumers, the scientific community and the food industry and having Tim as our Chief Executive will help reinforce these ties. His food

industry background also complements the background and experience already embedded in the senior leadership team.

"Tim also understands the issues, challenges and opportunities faced by the FSA at this time and will provide the Agency, I am sure, with a clear strategic direction. I and my colleagues on the FSA Board are looking forward immensely to working with him."

Smith said: "I have always admired the FSA's passion and commitment to making sure people have access to safe and healthy food. Now, more than ever, food is an issue of national importance and there is no doubt we have tough challenges ahead of us, especially in the fight against obesity. I am very much looking forward to starting my new role."