Christine Tacon steps down as Red Tractor chairwoman for Co-op position  

Christine Tacon has announced her plans to step down as Red Tractor chairwoman after being appointed to the Co-op board.

Christine Tacon has announced her plans to step down as Red Tractor chairwoman after being appointed to the Co-op board.

Ms Tacon, the former groceries code adjudicator, joined the Red Tractor board in December 2020.  

She was appointed to the Co-op board last weekend and had previously headed the co-operative’s farming operations between 2000 and 2012.  

Roles dilemma  

Ms Tacon said that taking on the new role has created a “dilemma” with the position of the Red Tractor chair.

She added: “Fulfilling these two roles in parallel, each of which requires 30-40 days per year, would ordinarily raise no concerns – indeed, Red Tractor chairs almost always hold other positions in the food industry simultaneously.

“However, I am acutely aware of those with reservations about supermarket power in general, and a lack of trust in Red Tractor from some quarters that needs to be repaired.

“Aware of these concerns, I raised my possible appointment proactively with Red Tractor’s Ownership Body, and we mutually agreed it would be better for me to step down from Red Tractor if I got the Co-op role.”

Search for new chair

Ms Tacon said she would have “far preferred” to carry on supporting Red Tractor at such a “critical point”.

She added: “I am also confident I could have executed both roles without compromising either organisation. However, I do not want to risk giving oxygen to those intent on criticising Red Tractor or for this to be the cause of any negative publicity.”

Ms Tacon, who has been working in the UK food and farming sector for over 30 years, confirmed that she offered to stay at Red Tractor’s discretion until a new or interim chair is appointed.

“This is an important time for Red Tractor as it works to improve transparency and audit efficiency, and better demonstrate value.

“Despite current bumps in the road, Red Tractor is a unique and valuable asset to us all, from farm to fork.

“There are issues that need addressing, and believe me, this is happening. But it is incumbent on us all to see the enormous opportunities and value presented by Red Tractor and work together to ensure it is there for us all, for the future,” she concluded.

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