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East Anglia Future 50

AF appoints former DHL chief executive to its board of directors

PUBLISHED: 08:54 11 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:54 11 July 2018

William Rice has been appointed as a Member Director to the AF board. Picture: AF Group Ltd.

William Rice has been appointed as a Member Director to the AF board. Picture: AF Group Ltd.

Archant

The largest agricultural purchasing group in the UK, AF, has appointed the former head of logistics firm DHL Perry Watts and Northamptonshire farmer William Rice as directors following its annual general meeting.

Perry Watts has joined the AF board as an Independent Director. Picture: AF Group LtdPerry Watts has joined the AF board as an Independent Director. Picture: AF Group Ltd

Mr Watts has had a 40-year career in the supply chain and logistics industry, starting as a driver and working his way up through the ranks, before being appointed chief executive UK and Ireland for DHL. AF member Mr Rice and his family have diversified their farming business to create a large and successful golf centre.

AF Chief Executive Jon Duffy explained that these appointments increase the “commercial insight and experience” available to the business.

“As we look to achieve the ambitious targets on membership, the balance sheet, and financial returns to members set out in our five-year strategy, having a board that will push AF to offer the highest quality and value products to its members is vital.”

The company has a head office just outside Norwich and a buying power in excess of £250 million.

Mr Watts explained that his career has allowed him to work across many different industry sectors, including automotive, retail, pharmaceuticals, and technology; “all require a strong customer focus and operate in a highly commercial environment,” he said.

“The supply chain sits at the heart of any business and is uniquely placed to deliver significant value. It is this experience and subsequent different perspectives I will bring which will help support the highly competent AF team and its members deliver their goals.”

The appointments follow the retirement of Directors Keith Thompson and Peter Crick from the board. AF’s annual general meeting also saw the full annual accounts approved. Turnover in 2017/18 was £255m, while payments to members rose to £606,000 – an increase of 15% compared to the previous financial year.

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