Richard Lowe appointed head of MLC

MLC consumer affairs director has been appointed MLC's CEO. He replaces Kevin Roberts who has been appointed interim CEO for Levy Board UK.

MLC CEO Kevin Roberts has been appointed interim CEO for Levy Board UK. He will work alongside the chair designate John Bridge and the shadow board.

MLC's former consumer affairs director Richard Lowe will replace Roberts as MLC's CEO.

Environment secretary David Miliband also announced the chairs of the two sector meat companies who will be sitting on Levy Board UK.

John Cross, chairman of EBLEX, will head the beef and lamb sector company and BPEX chairman Stewart Houston will head the pork sector company.

Announcing the appointments, Miliband said: "This is a significant day for levy payers as they now know who will be responsible for helping to deliver a new levy board structure by April 2008."

In welcoming his new board members, Bridge said: "This is a very strong team which will ensure that Levy Board UK makes a difference - one that will be felt by levy payers and that will give significant efficiencies through key sectors of the agricultural and horticultural industries."

Of his appointment Roberts said: "This is a great opportunity to deliver real change. There are many decisions to be made by the shadow board to deliver a new levy board that is fit for purpose."

Cross said he was looking forward to working with Bridge on Fresh Start. "There is a huge amount of work to get the levy board up and running. There is a cost-cutting agenda, which will be valuable for us all as we get a better understanding of the needs of the different sector companies."

Houston said he was delighted to have been appointed. "I see this as a big opportunity for cost savings by exploring better synergies between all sectors. Retailers, consumers and foodservice all have the same issues and we have a lot of work to do on the diet and health front."

The new levy board members will meet for the first time on 5 and 6 March.

Other changes at the MLC include the extension of Peter Barr's appointment as chairman of MLC for a further year to 31 March 2008.

Eight MLC commissioners have also had their appointments extended through to 31 March 2008.

These are Paul Kirk (deputy chairman), Helen Browning, Richard Cracknell, John Cross, Dr Kevin Hawkins, Stewart Houston, Professor Richard Moody and Neil Stoddart.