This week I had the great pleasure and honour of interviewing Ian Wright, CEO, Food and Drink Federation.  The FDF is one of the UK’s top trade associations and represents the largest manufacturing sector in the UK.  A sector that is responsible for 400,000 jobs and with a £80 billion contribution to the economy – the industry is critical to the UK.

In the following gripping 22 minute vodcast I ask Ian the following questions.  (Do watch out for one cat entering the room stage left and one minor swear word.)


  1. Tell me in brief about your role and the work of the FDF.
  2. What was your initial reaction to COVID-19 and what did you see as your priorities as first lockdown announced?
  3. How did you respond in the early days?
  4. What worked well and what did not?
  5. When lobbying government, how do you represent members who may have very differing views e.g. during the last four years of Brexit negotiations when you may well have leavers and remainers among your membership?
  6. What is your view about what will happen in the event of a no deal?  How would this affect members and the country?
  7. What have you learned as a leader in 2020?


Ian, who was Corporate Relations Director with major drinks company Diageo, joined the Federation in 2015. He has huge experience in the food and drinks industry having spent more than two decades in senior management positions with two of the UK’s most important businesses Diageo and Boots.

For 14 years he was corporate relations director of Diageo. He was a member of the executive committee and responsible for representing the company to governments, NGOs and the media around the world.

He has also worked for other food businesses including Pillsbury, Burger King and Mars Confectionery. His career also includes spells in consultancy and politics. He is also a non-executive director of Mass1, a member of the advisory board of The Work Crowd and a trustee of both The WAVE Trust and Children on the Edge. 

Ian Wright, 61, is married with two children and lives in Rutland and London.

FDF, based in Catherine Street, London, alongside its Scottish arm in Melville Street, Edinburgh, employs 65 people. It has about 300 members including some of the largest food manufacturers in the world.