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Poul Christensen, who has extensive experience in change management,...
Poul Christensen, who has extensive experience in change management,

rural affairs and farming, has been appointed chair of the Rural

Development Service.

The appointment is part of a move to strengthen the role of the

service before it is brought together with English Nature and parts

of the Countryside Agency in a powerful new integrated agency.

The new integrated agency is expected to be formally created in

January 2007 but until then, the three organisations will operate as

a partnership.

The Rural Development Service administers the England Rural

Development Programme and delivers a range of statutory services. It

is part of core Defra at present but is preparing for a future as a

key part of the new Integrated Agency.

Poul, a former president of the Federation of Agricultural

Cooperatives, is currently a board member of the South East England

Regional Development Agency and Agriculture Central Training. He is

also a long-term partner in Kingston Hill Farm, one of the first

farms to promote bio-diversity almost 30 years ago.

Rural affairs minister Alun Michael, said: 'Poul has the skills and

the experience to forge a new future for the Rural Development

Service as part of the integrated agency. His appointment will boost

the service's role as a champion for sustainability in rural

communities and its role within the new integrated agency.

'In addition, we are able to announce two other appointments. John

Adams, who is currently head of the Rural Development Service, is

now designated the chief executive to help the service prepare the

way for integration and to be seen as equivalent in role to the chief

executive of English Nature and the Countryside Agency. I have also

appointed Simon Humberstone as a board member to assist Poul in his

work. He brings into play experience of change management in the

field of business. Two more board members will be appointed shortly.'


* Poul was a member of the BBC rural affairs advisory committee from

1992 to 1995, and was a board member of Milk Marque from 1994 to

2000. He was also appointed chair of the LINK Sustainable Livestock

Programme in 2004.

* Simon Humberstone is an executive partner of IBM Business

Consulting Services, focusing exclusively on the public sector. Over

the past 20 years his career has spanned a range of business areas

including start-up and business development. For the past four years

Simon has been at the DVLA in Swansea where he led an IBM team on a

major change agenda. He has board level experience and was the

Director of Organisational Change at DVLA.

* John has been head of the Rural Development Service since 2002. He

has been a civil servant for 30 years, in a wide variety of roles.

In 1997 he set up the government's Sustainable Development Unit,

which he headed until 2002.

* The Rural Development Service was created in 2001 after merging the

Farming and Rural Conservation Agency with MAFF's regional service

centres. As the largest deliverer of England Rural Development

Programme (ERDP) schemes and a range of other rural services, the

service is at the forefront of change in rural areas. It has around

1,500 staff in eight regions, working with rural partners and local

people to achieve environmental enhancement, better conservation of

wildlife and biodiversity and stronger rural economies and


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