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John Reizenstein to succeed Richard Macdonald as Farm Africa Chair

12 March 2019

Farm Africa is delighted to announce the appointments of John Reizenstein as the new Chair of its Board and of Judith Batchelar as Deputy Chair.

John and Judith will start in post in July 2019, succeeding Richard Macdonald and Jonathan Kydd respectively.

Richard Macdonald, who has served as the charity’s Chair since 2013, is the former director general of the National Farmers Union. Over his time as Chair, he has led groups of senior executives from the food industry in four fundraising treks for Farm Africa in eastern Africa, raising more than £734,000 for Farm Africa. 

Richard Macdonald commented:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as Chairman of Farm Africa and I am delighted to see John and Judith taking on the leadership roles in July. During my time as Chair I have seen Farm Africa grow its programme portfolio hugely, allowing this great organisation to reach more people in eastern Africa, making a lasting change to farmers’ livelihoods. John and Judith are excellent choices to steer the continued growth of Farm Africa’s work and I will watch with interest as the impact of Farm Africa work expands across eastern Africa.”

John Reizenstein recently retired as Chief Financial Officer of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. He started his career as an Overseas Development Institute Fellow, working as an economist in Swaziland. Over the next 20 years he worked for UBS and Goldman Sachs in a variety of roles, including Managing Director, Financial Institutions, and later served as Managing Director, Corporate & Markets at Co-operative Financial Services.

Throughout his career John has retained his interest in Africa’s development, most recently as a Vice-President of Save the Children. He is a Trustee of Nightingale Hammerson, a UK elderly care charity.

John Reizenstein commented:

"Farm Africa plays a vital role in securing sustainable small-scale agriculture in eastern Africa. I am excited at the opportunity to work with my fellow board members, our CEO Nicolas Mounard, and his team in taking the organisation to the next level.

“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Richard Macdonald for his service to the organisation. Under Richard’s leadership over the last six years, Farm Africa has seen considerable growth in its operations and impact, helping millions of people across eastern Africa build sustainable livelihoods and protect their local ecosystems."

Jonathan Kydd, who has served as Deputy Chair since 2012, is Dean of University of London International Programmes and Chief Executive of the University of London International Academy. He has also chaired Farm Africa’s Programme Advisory Committee, providing excellent advice and knowledge, shaping the growth of Farm Africa’s programme portfolio.

Judith Batchelar is Director of Sainsbury’s Brand and is responsible for Quality, Innovation, Corporate Responsibility and Public Affairs for the Sainsbury’s Group of companies. She is also a Non-Executive Director of The Environment Agency, sits on the Executive Board of the Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project and is an Ambassador for the Woodland Trust.

Having spent a lot of time in Africa throughout her career, Judith has a deep understanding of the potential agriculture has to make lasting change. Judith is a keen advocate for female farmers in East Africa, and has been key in promoting Farm Africa’s Food for Good initiative. She has led a group of women in the Big Beehive Build and Dig for Good challenges, raising just under £200,000 for Farm Africa.

Judith Batchelar commented:

“I am delighted to take up the position of Deputy Chair of Farm Africa. I am fortunate to have visited Farm Africa’s projects in eastern Africa on several occasions and have been consistently impressed with the dedication and expertise of the charity’s staff, and by the deep and lasting impact the work is having on the lives of rural communities. I look forward to working with the Board and staff to help the organisation expand its reach and impact across many more communities.”