The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has appointed a new director general to oversee the running of the 30,000-strong organisation for landowners, farmers and rural businesses.

Sarah Hendry will take over from Helen Woolley who leaves the CLA in November after seven years as director general.

Track record

After studying Modern Languages at Oxford University, Sarah has spent her whole career in the Civil Service, mostly within Defra.

She has been a director for the last 12 years and worked across a number of policy areas including water, flooding, rural development, Common Agricultural Policy reform, animal health, farming, and climate change. For the last six months that has included leading the clean-up in Salisbury after the novichok attack.

Sarah was awarded a CBE in 2006 for her work on climate change.

She said: “I am delighted to be joining the CLA, especially at such a crucial time for the rural sector. My first priority is understanding the membership and I’m excited about getting out and about and meeting members.

I know from my time at Defra what an incredible contribution they make to the rural economy. I’m really looking forward to seeing it at first hand and learning more of the issues they experience.

CLA president Tim Breitmeyer added: “Sarah is a very welcome addition to the senior team at the CLA. She brings an in-depth understanding of rural issues from her time at Defra, combined with her leadership skills.

"I am confident she will build on the already strong foundations of the organisation in the years ahead.”

Sarah Hendry will join the CLA at the end of October, spending most of her first month visiting the CLA regions to familiarise herself with the membership.

She will officially take over as director general at the start of December.