Red Tractor chair to step down following Co-op appointment

Christine Tacon, the chair of Red Tractor, will be stepping down after being appointed to the Co-op board
Christine Tacon, the chair of Red Tractor, will be stepping down after being appointed to the Co-op board

Red Tractor chairwoman Christine Tacon has announced she will step down from the role following her appointment to the Co-op board.

Ms Tacon was appointed chairwoman of Assured Food Standards, which oversees the Red Tractor assurance scheme, in 2021.

Before this, she was the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA), and from 2000 to 2012, she oversaw the Co-operative Group’s farming operations.

Ms Tacon said she was 'very pleased' to have now been appointed to the Co-op Board in their latest elections, voted in by Co-op members.

However, this had 'created a dilemma' with the other role to which she was 'deeply dedicated – that of Red Tractor chair'.

"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," Ms Tacon said.

"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."

She added: "I would like to make it very clear that this is not a move I welcome in any way. I would have far preferred to carry on supporting Red Tractor at such a critical point."

Ms Tacon said she was 'confident' she could have executed both roles 'without compromising either organisation'.

However, she added that she did not want to 'risk giving oxygen to those intent on criticising Red Tractor or for this to be the cause of any negative publicity.'

She said: "I have offered to the Ownership Body that I stay on at their 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.

"I would also like to thank the excellent team at Red Tractor for their hard work and dedication. Expect an update from the Ownership Body in due course.