New Chief Executive Officer for the Fairtrade Foundation
The Fairtrade Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Gidney, 47, to the post of Chief Executive Officer as of 3 December 2012. Michael has an impressive twenty year track record of working in international development, mostly with a focus on poverty reduction - in programme management, strategy and policy. His experience working in the non-governmental sector in the UK and overseas has led him to believe that there is no better model for ending poverty than through enabling fairer trade and that Fairtrade, when it works well, can be transformational.
|Mike Gidney, new Chief Executive for the Faitrade Foundation|
“Fairtrade can provide farmers and workers with the skills and confidence to secure significant benefits for their communities,” says Michael. “We have made fantastic progress over the last few years in taking the idea of Fairtrade to the mainstream, but there is much more still to do. Too many producers are still too vulnerable to the volatility of globalised trade. We need to reach more farmers and workers in developing countries, with tools that are relevant to them today, and to do that we must find new ways of engaging more UK companies. The campaign for Fairtrade has gained incredible support from the British public: it is a campaign with real potential to bring about lasting change. I am looking forward very much to working with our partners to ensure that Fairtrade lives up to this promise”.
Michael’s appointment comes following a comprehensive and highly competitive search and selection process undertaken with the support of recruitment consultancy ProspectUs and it included an independent expert who chaired the selection panel. Before joining the staff as Deputy Executive Director in 2009, Michael served for six years on the Fairtrade Foundation Board (2002-2008), the last three years as Chair, while Policy Director at Traidcraft (2001-09) and he believes it is an asset that he has seen how an organisation functions from the different perspectives of an exec and non-exec.
As Deputy Director, he has re-shaped the Senior Management Team, championed new programme designs for delivering the organisation’s objectives in cotton, sugar and cocoa, and led a comprehensive change programme to ensure the Foundation is well-equipped for the future.
“Mike demonstrated exceptional knowledge of the Fairtrade sector and put forward powerful ideas about the role of the Fairtrade Foundation, now and in the future,” says David Clayton-Smith, Chair of the Fairtrade Foundation Board. “We believe he is the right person to lead the Foundation into the next key strategic phase and that he will make an exciting and highly capable CEO”. Acting up as Director since the summer, Michael has been leading the development of the organisation’s new three-year strategy 2013-2015 Unlocking the Power of the Many which will be launched at the beginning of the year.
Michael replaces Harriet Lamb CBE, Executive Director at the Fairtrade Foundation for ten years, who moved to Germany to take up the role of Chief Executive of Fairtrade International in July. Michael began his career as a teacher in Kenya, going on to work on programme development in numerous African countries with Voluntary Service Overseas and other NGOs. He is married to Caroline and they live by the sea in Suffolk with their two young children.
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Notes to Editors:The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label appears on products to show that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal from trade. Today, more than 1.5 million people – farmers and workers – across 60 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
Over 4,500 products have been licensed to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark including coffee, tea, herbal teas, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, grapes, pineapples, mangoes, avocados, apples, pears, plums, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, satsumas, clementines, mandarins, lychees, coconuts, dried fruit, juices, smoothies, biscuits, cakes & snacks, honey, jams & preserves, chutney & sauces, rice, quinoa, herbs & spices, seeds, nuts & nut oil, wines, beers, rum, confectionary, muesli, cereal bars, yoghurt, ice-cream, flowers, sports balls, sugar body scrub and cotton products including clothing, homeware, cloth toys, cotton wool and olive oil.
Estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products in 2011 reached £1.32bn, a 12% increase on sales of £1.17bn in 2010.