Speaker Biogs


Ian Wright – CEO, Food & Drink Federation

Ian Wright is Chief Executive of the Food & Drink Federation. FDF is the representative voice of the companies and trade associations which make up the UK’s largest manufacturing sector. He joined in March 2015. Before then he spent 14 years with Diageo plc – the world’s largest drinks business. He was the executive committee member responsible for its reputation as it became one of the world’s most trusted and respected companies. Earlier, he worked for Boots The Chemist, Mars Confectionery and Pillsbury and had spells in consultancy and politics.
He received a CBE for political and public service in August 2015.

Sarah Carroll – Grow Global

Sarah is one of the world’s leading experts on how to grow a business globally in this digital age. She is a digital strategist, trainer, author and speaker. She has coached over 750 companies on how to gain more international leads and sales from online customers around the world while working with the UK’s Department for International Trade and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. She has successful clients who have increased their online sales tenfold and gone on to be award winning. She has had more than 4,000 delegates on her webinars, seminars and workshops where she regularly speaks about optimising websites, e-commerce, e-marketplaces, s-commerce and c-commerce for cross border international trade. Her prestigious speaking engagements include events for global banks such as HSBC, Barclays and Santander, as well as being a guest speaker at Google London, the UN in Geneva and the African Union in Nairobi, talking on digital export. She is an e-commerce trainer for the International Trade Centre, a UN/WTO agency, and has designed a next generation e-commerce training programme and trained coaches on the ‘Creating the Digital Future of Rwanda’ programme in Kigali. Grow Global has two game-changing accelerator programmes: the World Class Programme and the Grow Global Programme to get businesses ready to and then selling online worldwide as fast and as successfully as possible. Her latest book Grow Fast, Grow Global: 6 steps to international growth in the digital age is a #1 Amazon UK bestseller. It shows businesses across the world how to boost their international sales online. She is a finalist in the Business Book Awards 2019, where her book is one of the top five sales and marketing books in the UK.

Dr Umair Choksy – UKC Business School

Dr Umair Shafi Choksy is a Lecturer in Strategy and International Business and Director of Studies of the BSc (Hons) in International Business at University of Kent, Kent Business School. He is actively researching and publishing in the area of global value chains, strategy, and development. His research focuses towards SME suppliers and issues related to supplier participation and upgrading in global value chains/global production networks. He is currently teaching on both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes on modules including global business environment and global value chains.

Sam Cliff – Worldwide Fruit

Samuel heads the Worldwide Fruit Ethical Trading Programme which encompasses twenty-one countries worldwide. He manages labour standards in factories and farms across the Worldwide Fruit supply chain which includes the production and packing of Apples, Avocados, Pears, Soft-fruit and Stone-fruit. Previously, Samuel has worked for UK retailers John Lewis & Waitrose, with roles in Ethical Trading and Corporate Social Responsibility, and has spent time living and working in South Africa for the Waitrose Foundation. An active member of several Ethical Trading working groups, Samuel is a keen advocate of collaboration to drive continuous improvement across global supply chains.

Chris Hare – HSBC

Chris Hare joined the European Economics team in May 2017, and covers pan-European and UK issues. Before joining HSBC, Chris spent two years working as a UK and global economist at an international investment bank. Prior to that, Chris worked for five years in the UK forecasting division at the Bank of England, where he helped to produce the MPC’s economic forecasts, while providing briefings on the economic outlook. He earned a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Warwick.

Chris Hayward – Kantar

Chris is the Head of UK Business Development at Kantar Worldpanel. He has 15 years’ experience within the market research industry, over 10 of which have been spent at Kantar Worldpanel. Chris has worked across all areas of FMCG and is well versed in Continuous, Quantitative and Qualitative data. His experience has lead him to specialise in helping emerging brands gain listings and he has a particular passion for the fast paced ‘On the Go’ area of food consumption.


Des Kingsley – Thanet Earth

An MBA qualified Managing Director with extensive experience in food production and management across many food categories including salads, desserts and ready meals. Des also has experience working with food trade bodies including acting as Chairman of the UK’s Chilled Food Association. Currently, Des is the Managing Director of Thanet Earth Ltd; the largest most technically advanced glasshouse growing facility in the UK.


Olivier Morel – Cripps Pemberton Greenish

Olivier Morel is a dually qualified lawyer in the UK and France. He has over 30 years’ experience providing legal advice and strategic solutions to international groups investing in the UK. He also advises UK clients expanding overseas.
Olivier is a member of the board of the French Chamber of Great Britain and President of the UK chapter of the Foreign Trade Advisors UK, a 120 year old French government think-tank on international trade. Olivier also sits on the worldwide board of the same body.
Olivier is a regular writer and speaker on international, legal and business issues in the national and international press.
In 2019, Olivier was appointed ‘Knight of the French National Order of the Légion d’Honneur’, France’s highest order of merit, in recognition of his voluntary work contributing to Franco-British commerce, cooperation and friendship.


Sue Nelson – Breakthrough Group

Sue Nelson, author of FoodTech UK, Founder of TLA Food Tech and CEO of The Breakthrough Group describes the key trends to watch out for in the next five years including developments in agri, food rescue, plastic packaging, food logistics, free from and online ordering.
I am very proud to live and work in Kent and I defy anyone to deny that we are best food and drink county in the UK! We have fabulous local producers, pioneering farms, burgeoning vineyards and emerging foodtech innovation. But we have some serious national issues we need to confront such as the sharp rise in diabetes and obesity, how to deliver sustainable and secure food systems and how to replace plastic with degradable cheap alternatives that will be fit for purpose. I can’t wait for the Food and Drink Conference in 2019. Building on the success of last year I am looking forward to some great debates, learning some new skills and networking with respected experts.


Allan Wilkinson –
Head of Food & Agriculture HSBC

Allan has worked within the food and farming industry since joining Midland Bank in 1988, with roles around the UK including a seven-year period as Area Director and Regional Commercial Director.
Allan was appointed Head of Agriculture with HSBC in 2010. As Head of Food & Agriculture, he has led our UK sector specialism for the whole food chain since 2015.