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New Chair appointed to the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has announced the appointment of a new Chair to the Board of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI).
Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Mr Colm McKenna, has been appointed as the new Chair and his appointment is effective from 14 April 2014 to 31 March 2017.

AFBI is a DARD Executive Non-Departmental Public Body set up under the powers of the Agriculture (NI) Order 2004. It is empowered under the Order to undertake scientific work (research and development, testing, advice and information on scientific matters and dissemination of the results of scientific research) in the fields of agriculture, animal health and welfare, food, fisheries, forestry, the natural environment and rural development and enterprise. It employs approximately 850 staff who are located on six specialised, DARD-owned sites and one Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) operated site across the North.

Confirming the new appointment, the Minister said: "Mr McKenna has experience of dealing with significant financial management and governance challenges in the public sector. He worked closely with the Agri-Food Sector during his time in the banking industry and brings his private sector and professional finance experience to the AFBI Chair position. He arrives at a time of significant change for AFBI, as the organisation faces a range of strategic challenges over the medium term. I wish him well in his important leadership role."

Notes to editors:

  1. Mr McKenna lives in Glenavy, County Antrim. He has held numerous positions, both executive and non executive, at a senior level related to Banking, Health and Social Care and Justice.
  2. The posts attract a remuneration of £25,470 per annum.
  3. Currently, Mr McKenna holds the following Ministerial Public Appointments:

    · Chair of the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, remunerated at £29,716 pa; and
    · Non Executive Director and Chair of Audit Committee of ILEX URC Ltd., remunerated at £400 per day.
  4. The above appointment is based on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland (CPANI) requires the political activity of appointees to be published. The appointee has not been involved in any political activity during the past five years.
  5. The appointment is made in accordance with the Agriculture (NI) Order 2004 and the CPANI Code of Practice.
  6. All media queries should be directed to the DARD Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or email: DARD Press Office. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.