I am delighted to announce that I have selected Christine Tacon to be the first groceries code adjudicator, subject to security clearance. In the spirit of open government, I have also asked the BIS Select Committee to conduct pre-appointment scrutiny of this candidate, although the final decision will remain that of the Secretary of State.
Christine has a background in both food production and in retail, culminating in 12 years as managing director of the Co-operative Farms. She has a strong knowledge of both supermarkets and suppliers, having held senior corporate responsibility within the Co-operative Group and running the largest farming operation in the UK.
The independent groceries code adjudicator will enforce the groceries supply code of practice, ensuring that supermarkets treat their suppliers lawfully and fairly. Its introduction fulfils the commitment in the coalition agreement to "introduce, as a first step, an ombudsman in the Office of Fair Trading who can proactively enforce the grocery supply code of practice and curb abuses of power, which undermine our farmers and act against the long-term interest of consumers".
The Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill [Lords] will establish the adjudicator, and is currently before Parliament. It has recently completed Committee stage in the Commons.