A WELL-KNOWN Fifer who has spent his working life as a leading figure in the UK’s food industry has just been given the Freedom of the City of London.
John Whitehead OBE, who has recently retired as chairman of the Sea Fish IndustryAuthority, received the honour at a ceremony in the city.
Mr Whitehead was presented for the prestigious honour through his position as a liveryman with the Worshipful Company of Fishmongers.
The Fishmongers’ Company is one of the 12 great livery companies of the City of London and among the most ancient of the City Guilds.
For more than 700 years, as well as fostering fellowship among members, it has upheld standards in the trading of fish and shellfish and supported the fisheries industry.
The freedom was conferred on Mr Whitehead by Lorraine Bailey, Deputy Chamberlain of the City of London.
The accolade is a unique part of London’s history, to which many people who have lived or worked in the city have been proud to be admitted.
Mr Whitehead’s term as chairman of the Sea Fish IndustryAuthority expired at the end of December. The levy-funded organisation supports the UK seafood industry to a sustainable and profitable future.
A trustee of the Billingsgate Seafood Training School, Mr Whitehead is also chairman of the Certification Council of Scottish Food Quality Certification Ltd and senior independent director of Improve, the sector skills council for the UK food and drink industry.
In addition, he serves as a non-executive director with Strathmore Foods Ltd, Glycomar Ltd and Gourmet’s Choice Smoked Salmon.
He is a founder director of the Food & Drink Exporters Association. He is also a board member of the Fife Food Network and its Food From Fife initiative.
Mr Whitehead previously served as a commissioner of the Meat and Livestock Commission, and as a member of the Council of Food from Britain.
He was also convener of the National Farmers Union of Scotland Horticulture Committe from 1986 to 1989.
In 2003 he was awarded an OBE for services to the agri food industry.
Mr Whitehead was also managing director of Top Hat Holdings Limited, producers of prepared foods for many of the major UK multiple retailers, based in Dundee.