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Cornwall Farmers moves to strengthen board


Cornwall Farmers (CF) is strengthening its board with the recruitment of new directors to drive the business forward.

The 70 million business, which has been supplying the agricultural community for the last 90 years and is owned by its 4,200 members, voted at its annual general meeting in March to diversify its board structure following a review.

The new structure will include two existing and two new member directors, two executive directors and a professional external director.

CF chief executive Simon Birch and finance director Andrew Knott have already been appointed to the executive posts. The recruitment of the other new directors is ongoing and will be managed by a professional recruitment consultancy.

CF chairman Peter Thomas, who has been on the board for 18 years and chairman for the last three, has also announced that he is to step down in September.

He will be succeeded by board member Geoffrey Vernon who has extensive corporate governance experience in public and private companies in the UK and overseas. His appointment as chairman has unanimous board approval.

Mr Thomas said: Following a review of our governance structure members voted in March for a smaller board with a greater mix of skills to take the business forward and build on CFs position as a leading South West agricultural supplier.

The board will continue to have majority member control and these changes will strengthen the experience, skills and commercial acumen available. Candidates will have to meet challenging qualifying criteria and for the first time we will have a professional external director to provide an objective view.

I will be overseeing this process in the coming months to ensure a smooth transition before stepping down from the board in September. This was not an easy decision but after 18 years I feel it is time to hand over the reins and in Geoffrey Vernon we have the right combination of agricultural knowledge, personal leadership and business acumen required to lead CF in the future.

Mr Thomas said he had written to every CF member to notify them of the board changes this week and give them more details about the recruitment process, including how to apply for one of the member director positions.

CF employs 270 staff and injects more than 30 million a year into the local economy through wages and what it spends with local suppliers.

CFs agricultural supplies business, under the CF Agriculture banner, supplies more than 45 million of goods and services every year. And it sells 25 million of goods through its 13 CF Country Stores, which is the biggest network in Cornwall and Devon

CF is a significant force in agriculture and has been for nine decades, it is an integral part of the rural community.

CF is an agricultural supply co-operative, owned by over 4,200 members, with 13 country stores throughout Devon and Cornwall supplying agricultural and arable products, farm feeds, equestrian products, domestic groundscare machinery and items for families and fun.

The CF corporate mission is to create wealth for its members and employees through co-operative supply to farmers and the entire rural community, as well as being committed to:

  • Our members by creating wealth and customer loyalty through efficient and cost effective supply of products and advice.

  • The farming and food industry by promoting profitable and sustainable farming and horticulture.

  • Our staff by encouraging them to develop to their full potential in a safe working environment.

  • Everyone who enjoys the outdoor life by giving access to high quality products, advice and service.

  • The rural communities of the West Country by acting as a responsible employer, corporate citizen and neighbour.

  • Our beautiful countryside by recognising the West Country landscape enjoyed by so many is a managed one. We promote viable and environmentally acceptable farming practices to preserve the landscape for today and tomorrow.

Our customer loyalty has been built on consistently good value and unrivalled knowledgeable and friendly service from our staff.

CF employs 270 full and part-time staff.

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