Food industry veteran joins the Morrisons board

MORRISONS has appointed a former chief executive of Arla Foods as a non-executive director.

Neil Davidson

Neil Davidson, who joins the board on October 1, will replace Penny Hughes as chair of the retailer’s corporate compliance and responsibility committee.

She is standing down as a non-executive director at the end of 2015 after six years on the board.

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Andrew Higginson, chairman of Morrisons, said: “Neil Davidson brings a wealth of experience in the UK food manufacturing and retail sectors from his time as CEO of Express Dairies and Arla Foods and as a major supplier to Morrisons.

“I am pleased to welcome him to the Morrisons Board. I would also like to thank Penny Hughes for her contribution and dedication to the board over the last six years.”

Mr Davidson said: “I have always considered Morrisons to be a great business. I very much look forward to joining the Board and to making a real contribution to the Company’s revival.”

He has also been a non-executive director of Persimmon plc and Northern Recruitment Group plc. He is currently a non-executive director of Produce Investments plc and chairman of The Cricketer Publishing Ltd.

Earlier this month, the Bradford-based chain announced a 47 per cent slump in half year profits to £126m - its lowest level in nine years - after disgruntled shoppers switched to discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Morrisons has warned that its recovery will take “years not months”.

Clive Black, of house broker Shore Capital, welcomed the “further evolution” of the board through Mr Davidson’s appointment.

He said: “Mr Davidson is a highly effective and seasoned executive who is very familiar to Shore Capital.

“After a distinguished career at Northern Foods plc, when the company was at its potent best, he went on to became CEO of the de-merged Express Dairies and Arla Foods UK, both companies of which supplied Morrisons, the latter was ultimately sold to Arla Foods amba.

“Mr Davidson has extensive experience of UK food manufacturing, including Produce Investments Limited, where he is also a non-executive director, which we believe could be invaluable to Britain’s number two food producer - Morrisons.”