Dawn Howard will become chief executive of the National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) on November 11.

Dawn Howard takes the NOAH reins on November 11.

She takes over from Phil Sketchley, who is leaving NOAH after 13 years in the post to take planned early retirement.

NOAH chairman David Ellerton thanked Mr Sketchley for his “fantastic work” during a period of great change.

“He has built a professional association that is both respected and admired by its members and other organisations,” said Mr Elleron, who is managing director of Virbac.

“I would also like to welcome Dawn to NOAH and I am looking forward to working with her in the coming years to address the new challenges facing our industry.”

Ms Howard has substantial experience from across the agri-food sector, both within the UK and Europe. This includes heading up the European body for commercial farm animal breeding organisations, EFFAB, and representing UK agricultural interests in Brussels at the British Agriculture Bureau.

She originally qualified as a botanist at the University of Nottingham and spent a number of years working in Defra’s plant health inspectorate, before moving to work on plant health policy, the Pesticides Safety Directorate and, finally, animal health and welfare policy in Westminster.

She later joined the National Farmers’ Union where she was responsible for a number of policy areas, including animal health and welfare. She has developed close working relationships with EU organisations such as IFAH-Europe, EPRUMA (European Platform for the Responsible Use of Medicines in Animals), Copa-Cogeca and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe.

Ms Howard said: “I am delighted to be joining NOAH and to have the opportunity to take the organisation forward to the next stage in its development – building on the legacy Mr Sketchley and his team have built.

“This will be a challenging time for NOAH members with the long-awaited regulatory changes finally on the horizon. However, I am confident NOAH will continue to be a strong voice for the animal health industry and I am looking forward to working with our members and professional colleagues to secure a healthy future.”

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