Phil Bicknell has been appointed chief executive of the newly merged Agri-Tech Centres and will take up his post in the spring. Last year, Agri-EPI, CHAP and CIEL – formally announced their intention to merge in April 2024 to form an integrated business.
Dr Peter Quinn, chair of the transition board responsible for the merger and the future Agri-Tech Centres, said: “I am delighted to announce that Phil Bicknell will be the chief executive for the new Agri-Tech Centres business from 1 April. We conducted a comprehensive recruitment process, internally and externally, to identify the best candidate to lead the business. Phil clearly demonstrated his vision for the future, along with the experience, skills and energy he will bring to the role.
“This appointment represents an important step in our process, as we move into the final weeks before the merger. There remains a lot to do, in collaboration with our partners, but our talented teams are looking forward to the opportunity to make a real impact in the future through innovative agri-tech.”
Phil Bicknell said: “The transition to a single agri-tech business is a pivotal move to accelerate innovation for our sector and I feel privileged to have been asked to lead the organisation.
“This is such an exciting opportunity and, working with an excellent group of colleagues and sector partners, I can’t wait to get started.”
Bicknell joined CIEL in 2021 and was made director in June 2023, at which time he joined the transition board for the merger. Prior to CIEL Phil has had a varied career across food and farming. He led the 50 strong market intelligence team at the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB). He was chief economist at the National Farmers Union (NFU), spearheading the evidence to support a range of lobbying activity. Other roles include specialising in agri-trade issues at the US Department of Agriculture and advising a range of agribusiness clients with Bidwells.