The IGD Leaders' Forum

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For the leaders of today and
the leaders of tomorrow

Food and grocery is facing three disruptors that threaten the future of your business

IGD Leaders' Forum 2017

Chaired by:
Michael Buerk

Topic experts

Mary Ann Sieghart
Social Market Foundation

Lord Digby Jones
Previous Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment, UK Government

Lord Digby Jones

Ed Balls
Senior Fellow
Harvard Kennedy School
Visiting Professor to the
Policy Institute at King's College London

Professor L Alan Winters
UK Trade Policy Observatory,
Sussex University

Sussex University

Mats Persson
Head of International Trade


Sethu Vijayakumar
Professor of Robotics
The University of Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh

Robert Colvile
Author “The Great Acceleration”


Top ^

Leading the industry response


Andrew Higginson

Fiona Dawson

Fiona Dawson
Global President Food, Drinks
and Multisales

Meurig Raymond


Paul Mills-Hicks
Food Commercial Director


Leendert den Hollander
Vice President & General Manager, Great Britain
Coca-Cola European Partners

Coca-Cola European Partners

Charles Wilson
Chief Executive


Top ^


Ed Balls, Former Economic Secretary to the Treasury and Former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

Ed Balls is a Senior Fellow at The Harvard Kennedy School, Visiting Professor at King’s College London and Chairman of Norwich City Football Club.

He was UK Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and served in the UK Cabinet as Secretary for Children, Schools and Families. He was the UK Minister for Financial Services and the Chief Economic Adviser to the UK Treasury, during which time he was Chair of the IMFC Deputies and UK G20 Deputy.

He was a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics, Harvard University and a leader, writer and columnist at the Financial Times. He has also written for the Guardian, New Statesman and Tribune and co-authored a number of books and articles including the Sunday Times bestseller ‘Speaking Out: Lessons in Life and Politics.’ He studied economics at Keble College, Oxford and the Kennedy School of Government (MPA) where he was a Kennedy Scholar.

Christopher Barnatt, Futurist and Author

Christopher Barnatt is a futurist and freelance academic. His 1995 book “Cyber Business” predicted the rise of e-business and online social networks, while his 13th book, on the future of computing, robots and AI, is published in September 2017. Christopher runs the websites and, as well as associated YouTube channels that have received over 29 million video views.

Previously, Christopher lectured in computing and future studies at Nottingham University Business School, where he spent seven years as Director of Undergraduate Programmes. As a keynote speaker, he now delivers presentations and consultancy for a wide range of organisations in sectors including food production, financial services, healthcare, logistics and the arts.

Michael Buerk, Host and Chair

Michael Buerk has probably won more international awards for television reporting than any other British journalist, most notably for his coverage of the Ethiopian famine for BBC News in 1984/5. His reports, filmed with the Nairobi-based cameraman Mohamed Amin, alerted the world to the extent of the tragedy. They were shown worldwide, to an audience of billions. They led directly to a massive international relief effort valued in billions of dollars, which was estimated to have saved well over a million lives.

Michael has reported for BBC News since 1973. He was a network reporter from 1973-1976, industrial correspondent, Energy Correspondent, Scotland Correspondent (1979/80), Special Correspondent, Southern Africa Correspondent, as well as presenting The Ten O’clock News and more recently, numerous documentaries and docudramas.

Robert Colvile, Author "The Great Acceleration", Editor, CapX

Robert Colvile is the editor of CapX and author of the critically acclaimed book ‘The Great Acceleration: How the World is Getting Faster, Faster’. He spent 10 years at The Telegraph, working as head of comment, leader writer, columnist, comment editor and science page editor among other roles. He subsequently worked as News Director of BuzzFeed UK. As a freelance commentator on politics and technology he has written for The Times, Financial Times, Politico, The Telegraph, Foreign Policy, Wired, Prospect, Columbia Journalism Review, The Times Literary Supplement and many others.

Fiona Dawson, Global President Food, Drinks and Multisales, Mars

Fiona Dawson joined the Mars graduate scheme in 1988 from Trinity College, Dublin. Apart from a few years at Pepsi, Fiona has spent her working life with the business in roles including European Marketing Vice President, Managing Director and then President of Mars Chocolate UK and President of Mars Global Retail. Fiona now serves as Global President of Mars Food, Drinks, and Multisales and is a member of the Mars Incorporated Leadership Team.

Fiona has a passion for the advancement of women’s entrepreneurship and human rights, especially in the developing world. She is a member of the Women’s Business Council and has served on the Economic Development Advisory Group to the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID). Fiona previously served as President of the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) and Vice President of the Food and Drink Federation.

David Goodhart, Author of ‘The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics,’ Founder, Prospect Magazine

David Goodhart is a journalist, author and think tanker, currently head of the demography unit at the Policy Exchange think tank. He is the founder and former editor of Prospect magazine and the former director of the centre-left think tank Demos. His book ‘The British Dream: Successes and Failures of Post-War Immigration’ was runner-up for the Orwell book prize.

Doug Gurr, Country Manager, Amazon UK

Doug Gurr is Country Manager of Amazon UK. He joined Amazon in December 2011 and was President of Amazon China from 2014 to 2016.

His previous roles included teaching mathematics and computing at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, a 3-year stint working for the UK Government, six years with McKinsey, growing (as founder and CEO) an internet start-up from nothing to $250m in five years, and finally five years on the Board of Asda-Walmart.

Doug has two degrees in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD in Computing from the University of Edinburgh.

Outside work, Doug is Chairman of the British Heart Foundation, and a Trustee of the Landmark Trust and was until 2014 Chairman of the Science Museum Group of national museums.

Andrew Higginson, Chairman, Morrisons

Andrew Higginson joined the Morrisons Group as Deputy Chairman and Chairman Elect in 2014 and became Chairman in January 2015. He is a member of the Nomination, Remuneration and Corporate Compliance and Responsibility Committees. Andrew is currently the Chairman of N Brown Group and a Non-Executive Director of Woolworths Holdings Limited (South Africa). Andrew was previously a Non-Executive Director of both the Rugby Football Union and McCurrach UK Limited, the Chairman of Poundland Group and Senior Independent Director of BSkyB PLC. Andrew was an Executive Director at Tesco for 15 years.

Leendert den Hollander, Vice President & General Manager, Great Britain, Coca Cola European Partners

Leendert den Hollander is responsible for Coca-Cola European Partners’ business unit in Great Britain. Leendert joined from Young’s Seafood, where he had been Chief Executive Officer since 2011. Previously, he was UK Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer of its parent company, Findus group.

Earlier in his career, Leendert spent 15 years at Procter & Gamble in senior marketing positions including leading their Global Household Cleaners business. Leendert is Vice President of the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) and serves as Vice President of IGD.

Lord Digby Jones, Author of ‘Fixing Britain,’ previous Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment

Lord Digby Jones served a University Cadetship in the Royal Navy before graduating from University College London. He then went on to work for 20 years with Edge & Ellison, a Birmingham-based firm of lawyers, where he worked his way up from Articled Clerk to Senior Partner.

In 2000 Digby was appointed Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry, the UK’s ‘Voice of Business’, and was able to put some of his ideas and beliefs into action.

Digby’s views on the Public Sector remain a subject of great debate. He has stressed that, "if fundamental reform does not take place, from working practices right through to pension provision, we will end up with an ever-diminishing private sector trying to pay for, and provide pensions for, an ever increasing and inefficient, unproductive, self-interested public sector. As a getting older population puts a greater strain on the NHS just giving it more money is not the answer. Reform is overdue but sadly politically impossible”.

In 2007, Digby was appointed Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment and became a Life Peer taking the title, Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham Kb. During his 15 months in Ministerial Office he made 45 overseas visits, travelling to 31 different countries and meeting with the world’s top business leaders and politicians.

Paul Mills Hicks, Food Commercial Director, Sainsbury’s

Paul Mills Hicks joined the Operating Board in May 2014 as Food Commercial Director having spent over 10 years at Sainsbury’s. He started his career at Sainsbury’s during the formation of the ‘Making Sainsbury’s Great Again’ strategy. Following this he held a variety of roles in commercial, strategy and finance, most recently as Business Unit Director for Grocery. Prior to Sainsbury’s, Paul was European Controller at Marks and Spencer Group plc and a Director at UBS Warburg.

Mats Persson, Head of International Trade, EY

Mats Persson is Head of International Trade at EY UKI and a core member of the International Trade, Economics and Policy unit (ITEP). He is working with clients across sectors including energy, manufacturing and retail, assisting them in responding to the changing trade and policy landscape.

Mats has over a decade of experience analysing, influencing and writing policy for governments and advising business.

He is one of the UK’s leading experts on EU policy, Brexit and EU-UK relations. Before joining EY, Mats was a Special Advisor to the former UK Prime Minister, and a senior member of his EU negotiation team. Prior to that he was the Director of Open Europe - an influential EU-focused think tank.

Meurig Raymond, President, NFU

Meurig Raymond was elected to local branch Chairman of the NFU in 1979 and Pembrokeshire County Chairman in 1989. In 1992 he became the Welsh NFU Treasurer and served as the Pembrokeshire delegate on NFU Council between 1995 and 2004.

He served as Vice-Chairman of the NFU's Cereals Committee between 1999 and 2001 and served on the Agricultural Wages Board for six years from 1998. He was elected as Vice President of the NFU in 2004, became Deputy President in 2006 and President in 2014, to be re-elected for a second term in 2016. He represents European farmers on the European Commission’s High Level Forum for a Better Functioning Supply Chain – working to improve the position of farmers in the food chain across Europe.

He became a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society in 2000 and was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours in January 2005 for his services to agriculture. He was presented with an Honorary Doctorate from Harper Adams in 2014.

Mary Ann Sieghart, Chair, Social Market Foundation

Mary Ann Sieghart is a journalist, broadcaster and chair of the Social Market Foundation think tank. She is a non-executive director of the Ofcom Content Board, The Merchants Trust, Henderson Smaller Companies Investment Trust and of DLN Digital. She also sits on the Council of Tate Modern.

Mary Ann spent 19 years as Assistant Editor of The Times, where she wrote columns on politics, economics and social affairs. More recently, she has written a weekly column for The Independent. She has also worked for The Economist and The Financial Times, where she was the first female Lex columnist.

Mary Ann has presented the revival of The Brains Trust on BBC2 and The World This Week on Channel 4 and is now a presenter of Start the Week on Radio 4. For two years, she was the anchor of Newshour, the BBC World Service’s flagship news programme. She has also presented Profile, One To One and Beyond Westminster on Radio 4, and often makes the round-up of the political week film for BBC1’s This Week. She has been a frequent guest on Question Time, Any Questions, Newsnight, the Today programme, The World at One, PM, The World Tonight, The Andrew Marr Show and Woman’s Hour.

Amanda Sourry, President, Foods, Unilever

Amanda Sourry became President of Unilever’s Foods category and a member of the Unilever Leadership Executive (ULE) on 1 October 2015.

Prior to this, Amanda was responsible for Unilever’s global hair business, following her role as Executive Vice President and Chairman of Unilever UK and Ireland. She has also led Unilever’s global Spreads and Dressings categories. Amanda has extensive marketing and general management experience, mainly in North America where she worked for 17 years, ultimately as Senior Vice President, Unilever US Foods. She has lived and worked in the UK, Belgium, US and Australia.

Amanda has represented Unilever in several industry groups, including the CBI President's Committee, the Food & Drink Federation Executive Committee and the IGD Policy Issues Council. She has been a Vice Chair of the Advertising Association and was a member of the UK Government’s Ecosystems Market Taskforce.

Sethu Vijayakumar, Professor of Robotics, University of Edinburgh

Sethu Vijayakumar is the Professor of Robotics in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh and the Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics.

He holds the prestigious Senior Research Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Engineering, co-funded by Microsoft Research, and is also an Adjunct Faculty of the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles. Sethu has a PhD from the Tokyo Institute of Technology and has pioneered the use of large scale machine learning techniques in the real-time control of large degree of freedom anthropomorphic robotic systems, including the SARCOS and the HONDA ASIMO humanoid robots, KUKA-DLR robot arm and iLIMB prosthetic hand.

His latest collaboration is with NASA Johnson Space Centre on the Valkyrie humanoid robot, which is being prepared for unmanned robotic pre-deployment missions to Mars. He is the author of over 170 highly cited publications in robotics and machine learning and the winner of the IEEE Vincent Bendix award, the Japanese Monbusho fellowship, 2013 IEEE Transaction on Robotics Best Paper Award and several other paper awards from leading conferences.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a keen science communicator with a significant annual outreach agenda. He is the recipient of the 2015 Tam Dalyell Award for excellence in engaging the public with science and serves as a judge on BBC’s Robot Wars.

Charles Wilson, Chief Executive, Booker

Charles Wilson joined Booker as Chief Executive in November 2005. He joined Booker from Marks & Spencer where he was Executive Director for Property, IT and Supply Chain.

Charles started his career in 1986 with Procter & Gamble, and from 1987 to 1991, he was a consultant with OC&C Strategy Consultants. In 1991, he founded Abberton Associates, before joining Booker plc in 1998 as Executive Director. In 2000, he was appointed Managing Director of Booker Cash & Carry, within the Iceland Group plc. From 2001 to 2003 he was Executive Director of Arcadia Group plc, responsible for strategy, property, supply chain and systems.

Charles helped co-found the Institute of Hazard and Risk Research at Durham University and was President of the Institute for Grocery Distribution (IGD).

Alan Winters, Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex

L Alan Winters CB is Professor of Economics at the University of Sussex and Director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory. He is a CEPR Research Fellow and has served as Co-Director of the Centre's International Trade Programme; and as Chief Economist at the UK Department for International Development (2008-11), Director of the Development Research Group (2004-7), Division Chief and Research Manager (1994-9), and Economist (1983-5) at the World Bank. He is editor of The World Trade Review, Chairman of the Board of the Global Development Network, CEO of the Migrating out of Poverty Research Programme Consortium and a member of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). He has also advised, inter alia, the OECD, DfID, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the European Commission, the European Parliament, UNCTAD, the WTO, and the Inter-American Development Bank.

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Leaders' Forum


IGD Members

£750 | €900


£995 | €1195

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Christopher Barnatt

60 seconds with Christopher Barnatt

Chris Barnatt, author and futurist, tells us how technology is transforming retail, food and grocery and the political landscape.


Professor L Alan Winters

60 seconds with Prof. L Alan Winters, Director, UK Trade Policy Observatory

The Director of the independent advisory to the UK government amidst Brexit negotiations reveals his expectations of how international trade will change.



60 seconds with Robert Colvile

Read what one of our topic experts has to say on the rise of Artificial Intelligence and technology’s impact on global business ahead of the event…



60 seconds with Professor Sethu Vijayakumar

IGD spoke with Professor Sethu Vijayakumar, Director, Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, and judge on BBC’s Robot Wars, to hear an expert’s view on how technology is revolutionising our world and to give you a guide to future-proofing your business.


Lord Digby Jones

60 seconds with Lord Digby Jones

Honest and to the point, Lord Digby Jones spoke with us ahead of his involvement in the panel for the Leaders’ Forum.



Four Brexit trade scenarios

Read our synopsis of the 4 most likely post-Brexit scenarios that will affect the way you do business internationally.



The official event brochure

Download the full brochure to find out more about our speakers and the unique concept of the IGD Leaders’ Forum