Board of Directors

Barney Holbeche - President

Appointed February 2010

The President is the honorary head of Concordia, supporting and promoting it's mission and associated activities.

Barney Holbeche ran the NFU's Parliamentary lobby for over 30 years. His wealth of experience of working at Westminster is invaluable as Concordia promotes its activities and particularly in lobbying the Government for a long term solution to seasonal labour.

Barney's interests include current affairs, travel, history and heritage, cycling and wine.

Jeremy Ogden - Chairman

Appointed May 2010

A senior executive with a legal professional background, experienced in banking and financial services. For 12 years, Jeremy worked in the legal function of Barclays Bank most latterly as General Counsel for Global Retail and Commercial Banking. He has experience in setting and directing strategy to manage legal and operational risk. Jeremy is currently involved in consultancy work.

Concordia benefits from Jeremy's considerable legal financial experience particularly in risk management and governance as well as his commitment to mentoring and developing people. He enjoys sport, especially cycling, and the Arts.

John Rodley

Appointed November 2008

His first career was spent in the Royal Navy where he undertook a wide variety of appointments, including sea command, service overseas and in the Ministry of Defence. On leaving, he became Chief Executive of the Magistrates' Courts Service in Suffolk and was later appointed as the Director for all the courts in the county. Latterly he was the Director of Operational Services with the Judicial Appointments Commission.

He brings to Concordia a background in higher level management, along with a keen interest in strategic finance, governance and international relationships. His interests include current affairs, cultural issues, heritage and sport.

Timothy Firmston

Appointed June 2013

With senior management experience in the public education sector combined with private sector commercial experience, during his career Timothy has worked in land-based colleges, further education, community and outreach provision and in offender education and training. For 10 years he was Head of Learning and Skills within HM Prison Service whilst continuing his interests and connections in agriculture and horticulture. These aspects of his experience bring expertise in curriculum management, management of change, project management, quality systems and work exchange schemes to the Board.

Yvonne Richards

Appointed May 2006

After working as a primary school teacher, she spent two years with VSO as an English language teacher in Tanzania before spending three years in Namibia training primary school teachers.

She returned to the UK to study for an MA in International Education, has worked in youth charities managing their awards, training, education & development programmes. She takes a special interest in the training and volunteer activities of Concordia.

Mark Robinson

Appointed May 2010

Having started his career at the United Nations and then the Commonwealth Secretariat, he has twice served as an MP in constituencies with strong agricultural sectors. He has experience working at a political level in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, particularly in international development.

He specialises in governance having been associated with a number of charities for many years. He is Chair (UK) of the Commonwealth Consortium for Education and Hon. Treasurer of the Roundtable, the Journal of Commonwealth International Affairs. He is a trustee of a number of related Commonwealth organisations. As a Council Member of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust he has been a selection panel chair sending people overseas, often in agriculture and rural affairs.

In commercial life, he has been a director of Leopold Joseph (Merchant Bankers) PLC and a member of the Board of the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC).

Christine Snell (JP)

Appointed November 2006

Following a degree in Food Science, Technology and Nutrition, she joined Allied Lyons before moving to SmithKline Beecham, where she worked in project management and marketing and later as a consultant on a key agronomic project. Further consultancies for other food companies focused on modified atmospheric packaging of soft fruit.

Currently she is an active partner with her husband in Herefordshire, growing and packing soft fruit for major supermarkets. She manages Concordia participants for most of the year, and brings her considerable experience of both the food processing industry and as an employer to the Concordia Board. She is also a magistrate and enjoys tennis, horse riding and gardening.

Ventseslav Tsochev

Appointed May 2012

A previous Concordia participant, Ventseslav has worked in a variety of roles in soft fruit and salad crops and completed Concordia’s one year management training programme as a student. After 5 years at Technical College studying mechanical engineering, he went on to complete a degree in Agricultural Economics. He is currently Senior Operations Manager for a large salad grower in Kent.

The Board benefits from his own personal experience and insight of Concordia’s work and education programmes. He speaks Bulgarian, English, Spanish and Russian and his hobbies include fishing and football.

Sue Wellman

Appointed May 2009

With a background in Human Resources, she previously worked for high street retailers such as Marks and Spencer and Bally in HR management and director positions. She spent her last 5 years with Bally based at the Head Office in Switzerland which involved international travel and work in Asia, Middle East and Europe and USA.

She now owns a management consultancy specialising in executive coaching, facilitation, and training and development. She is Chair of the Operations Committee and takes a special interest in HR at Concordia. Bilingual, with fluency in French, her interests include skiing, horse riding, walking and playing the piano.

Stuart Piccaver

November 2014

After completing a degree in Agricultural Food and Marketing, and several years in account management for a company marketing flowers to the major supermarkets, Stuart returned to the family business in 1996. Today, as Managing Director, he oversees a highly specialised leaf salad business supplying into the food manufacturing sector. The business farms in Lincolnshire, Suffolk and Essex growing 700ha of salad crops with a significant requirement for seasonal labour.

He brings significant experience in managing a leading horticultural business to the Board and understanding of the sector which provides placements for Concordia participants. Married with 2 children he enjoys tennis, cycling, golf and rugby.