John Sunderland, the CEO of UK confectionery and soft drinks group Cadbury Schweppes, has been elected president of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), the organisation which represents the UK food and drink manufacturing industry.
Sunderland, who will take up the position on 1 January 2003, said it was an honour to be asked to represent the industry, one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the UK.
"Britain's food and drink producers - along with the whole food chain - will face many challenges over the next few years, and FDF has a key role in addressing these," he said.
"Food and drink, as a social, economic and even political issue, will continue to be high profile over the coming years. FDF will play a leading role in communicating our industry's positions to legislators, consumers and the media."
Sunderland has experience in both the confectionery and soft drink streams at Cadbury, and has held a number of senior positions there since joining the company in 1968: board member of both Cadbury Ireland and Cadbury Schweppes South Africa; a founding director of the Coca-Cola Schweppes joint venture in 1987; and managing director of the UK sugar confectionery division, now known as Trebor Bassett.
In 1993 he was named managing director of the confectionery stream and became a member of the Cadbury Schweppes board. He was appointed chief executive officer in September 1996.
The Food and Drink Federation is the voice of the UK food and drink industry, and frequently fights for the industry's interests on a range of issues, both within the UK and internationally. With a value of some £65.7 billion (€104.7bn), the food and drink industry is the UK's second largest, accounting for 13.8 per cent of total manufacturing output.
Among the most recent issues commented on by the FDF are the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, the role of the food industry in sustainable development, labelling, organic foods and the acrylamide scare.