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Speaker Biographies

Full speaker biographies will appear here shortly, please check back regularly for updates.


Jacki Davis

Jacki Davis

Managing Director, Meade Davis Communications


Jacki Davis is a leading commentator and analyst on European Union affairs. She is an experienced journalist, speaker and moderator of high-level events both in Brussels and in EU national capitals, the editor of many publications, a regular broadcaster on television and radio news programmes, and a Senior Adviser to the European Policy Centre think tank. Jacki has been based in Brussels for 19 years, and was previously Communications Director of the European Policy Centre; editor-in-chief of E!Sharp, a magazine on the EU launched in 2001; and launch editor of European Voice, a Brussels-based weekly newspaper on EU affairs owned by The Economist Group, from 1995-2000.


Georg Häusler

Georg Häusler

Head of Cabinet – Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission


Georg Häusler, an Austrian national, graduated at the University of Innsbruck in 1991 and obtained a doctorate degree in law in 1993.

He started his professional career after a traineeship in the European Commission in 1994 in Brussels when he became legal advisor to the European Farmers Organisation, COPA. In 1995 he became the Secretary General of CEJA, the European young farmers Council.

Georg Häusler joined the European Commission in 1999. He started as an auditor in the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) and moved in 2000 to the unit dealing with the European Parliament and the Court of Auditors. From 2002 until 2005 he was the personal assistant to the Deputy Director General of DG AGRI specifically dealing with legal and budgetary affairs and audit. During the years 2006 and 2007 he was personal assistant to the Director General.

In 2007 he was appointed Head of Unit in DG AGRI responsible for relations with the Court of Auditors, the European Parliament and policy planning.

Since 2010 he is the Head of Cabinet of Mr Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner responsible for agriculture and rural development.

Georg Häusler is married and has one son.

Mairead McGuinness

Mairead McGuinness

Member, European Parliament


Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael MEP for Ireland East, serves on the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee and the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.

She chaired the European Parliament Committee of Inquiry into the demise of Equitable Life, where thousands of pensioners lost out on their investments.

A member of Inter-Party Groups on Disability and Children’s Rights, she also serves on the European Parliament’s Delegations for relations with Australia and New Zealand, the Delegation for relations with the People’s Republic of China.
Mairead is very active on agriculture and rural development, global development policy, the environment and food safety and security. The specific issues she champions at EU level range from, the need for the EU to ensure security of food supply, double standards on food imports to global trade issues under the WTO.

She has also worked to raise the plight of children, especially those with a disability in orphanages in Romania and Bulgaria – two of the newer accession states of the EU.

Within Ireland her priorities have included more balanced regional and local development, food labelling, vocational and other educational programmes, particularly at community level, transport and equal opportunities for people with disabilities, carers and older people.

She regularly travels throughout the constituency of Ireland East, meeting as many people as possible in schools, community groups and various other forums to engage with them on the EU, how it works and what it stands for.
Elected as an MEP in June 2004 Mairead topped the poll with one in every four votes cast in the Ireland East constituency. She was re-elected in June 2009 with another poll-topping result and was the only candidate in Ireland to be elected on the first count. Magill Magazine voted her MEP of the Year in 2006 for, according to the magazine: “Putting in a consistently strong performance in a new and challenging role in Europe.”
Prior to becoming an MEP she was a well-known journalist, broadcaster and commentator. She presented the very successful, Ear to the Ground series on RTÉ television. The aptly named programme focused on local, national and European policies and how they were likely to affect the daily lives of individuals throughout the length and breadth of the country. Issues were examined forensically, brought to their essential core and communicated, always with the consumer’s best interest at heart.

Mairead is a former Chairperson of the Consumer Liaison Panel of the Department of Agriculture and Food. Married to Tom Duff the couple have four children, twins Orlaith and James, Áine and Cathal.

Julian Hilton-Johnson

Julian Hilton-Johnson

Vice-President Corporate Relations & Chief of Staff to the President, McDonald's Europe


As Chief of Staff, Julian is responsible for the co-ordination of our pan-European planning activities, working with a broad range of McDonald’s business and functional leaders. He also has responsibility for our Corporate Relations strategies in Europe including media relations, external communications and public affairs, as well as internal communication and crisis management.

Julian joined McDonald’s in 1999 and has held various positions in corporate relations, human resources and legal services in McDonald’s Europe, Northern Europe and the UK. He has also acted as Chair of the UK Pension Scheme and a trustee of Ronald McDonald House Charities. Most recently he was responsible for Human Resources in Europe.

Prior to McDonald’s, Julian held positions within Diageo at Burger King Europe, Middle East, Africa and at Freshfields, solicitors, in London and Madrid. He was previously a Research Assistant at the House of Commons.

Peter Erik Ywema

Peter Erik Ywema

General Manager, SAI Platform


Peter-Erik Ywema is an analytical chemist by education and holds an MBA in strategic sustainability consultancy. He has been educated in fine arts too and sources inspiration in many forms of art. He has been a consultant, researcher and interim manager since 1990 focusing on the implementation of pragmatic sustainability concepts in companies and policy for governmental institutions. In the early nineties he was amongst the researchers that developed life cycle assessment as tool to better understand real and significant environmental impacts.

He has founded two consultancies, Core Management and Quintens, both based on the conviction that the only lasting and profitable businesses will be the ones where sustainability: people, planet and profit are equal elements of the core business.

Peter-Erik has gathered experience from his work for dozens of companies, intermediate organisations, governments and NGOs.

Since 2007 he is the general manager of SAI Platform, the global collaborative enterprise by and for food & drink companies on sustainable agriculture. Since that time the Platform has grown from 17 to over 50 members. The world’s biggest companies work jointly towards a more sustainable agriculture. The Platform develops and publishes a unique collective knowledge about solutions and tools for any company in the food value chain.

Keith Kenny

Keith Kenny

Senior Director, McDonald's Europe


Keith Kenny is Senior Director for McDonald's Europe, he is responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s sustainable supply strategies and also leads the commercial teams for beverages, fish, poultry, produce and eggs. In addition to his pan-European responsibilities he also heads up Supply Chain for Northern Europe

Keith has been involved with numerous sustainability initiatives including McDonald’s sustainable fisheries policy and MSC implementation; He pioneered the development of the McDonald's Agricultural Assurance Programme back in 2001, which implements McDonald’s sustainable agriculture requirements. He participates in many industry and multi-stakeholder initiatives such as the European Animal Welfare Platform, Chair of the SAI beef group and the European retailers’ soy working group. He also leads the company's involvement in priority programmes such as the research and development of commercially-viable sustainable farming systems and McDonald’s Flagship Farms.

Keith joined McDonald’s Supply Chain in the UK in 1989, performing various functions including Head of Quality, Supply Chain & Food Strategy, before moving to the European Supply Chain in 2006

Mike Gooding

Mike Gooding

Managing Director, FAI Farms


Managing Director Woodland

• 2013 Chairman of The Oxford Farming Conference
• Member of the BBC Rural Affairs Committee
• Chairman of The Farm Inspiration Trust

Mike is a graduate of Seale Hayne Agricultural College and has followed a professional career in agricultural accountancy and finance; marketing and public relations. He was instrumental in establishing Farmers First plc where he worked in European livestock marketing, the abattoir sector and food processing with Aria Foods. Mike is responsible for the companies’ farming operations, client services and is leading new initiatives in education, communications and food retailing.

Married to Ruth who is a veterinary surgeon, and has three daughters. They live at Wytham in Oxfordshire.

Padraig Brennan

Padraig Brennan

Senior Analyst, Bord Bia


Padraig Brennan is a member of Bord Bia’s Sustainability Development team.

Over recent years Padraig has led a number of Bord Bia research programmes examining Sustainability and its implications for the Irish food and drink industry. He has been part of the team involved in the development and implementation of Bord Bia’s Origin Green Sustainability programme, which aims to demonstrate the commitment of the Irish food and drink industry at both farm and manufacturing level to producing in a sustainable manner and highlight the targets being set by the industry to deliver further improvements over time.

Padraig is from a farming background in Kilkenny, Ireland and holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from UCD and a Masters in Marketing from the University of Western Australia.

Henning Steinfeld

Henning Steinfeld

Livestock Information, Sector Analysis and Policy Branch , Food and Agriculture Organisation


Henning Steinfeld is responsible for livestock sector analysis and policy at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Trained as an agricultural economist with a Ph.D. from the Technical University of Berlin he has been working on sustainability issues related to the livestock sector for most of his professional career, initially in agricultural development projects in Africa, directing global and regional programmes, and authoring a number of seminal publications.

Recently, he has been working on revamping FAO’s approach to agricultural sustainability and developed the “Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock”, a global multi-stakeholder initiative targeting practice change.

Erik Mathijs

Erik Mathijs

Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Leuven


Erik Mathijs is Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences of the University of Leuven, Belgium. His research focuses on innovation processes and more particularly on how to enable the transition towards a sustainable agricultural and food system. He graduated from the University of Leuven with a degree in Agricultural Sciences in 1991. He then obtained a degree in Economics in 1995 and a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the same university in 1998. After obtaining his PhD and three years of post-doctoral research, Erik Mathijs was appointed lecturer at the Division of Agricultural and Food Economics of Leuven University in 2001. From 2002 to 2006, he was vice-coordinator of the Policy Research Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, a joint research initiative between Ghent and Leuven University to support Flemish policymakers. Mathijs was appointed professor in 2006. Prof. Mathijs has been rapporteur of the Third Foresight Exercise of SCAR, the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research.

Luis Carazo Jimenez

Luis Carazo Jimenez

Head of Unit - Animal Products, European Commission


• Agricultural engineer –crop production- (Polytechnic University, Madrid)
• Master on International trade (CEOE, Madrid).

Commission official since: 1 April 1997

Current position (since March 2012): Head of Unit "Animal products"

Former positions in the Commission:

• 2007-2012: Deputy Head of Unit "Arable crops, sugar, fibre plants, animal feed"
• 2006-2007: Coordinator of the cereal and rice sector
• 2005: Desk officer for international aspects of sugar
• 2001-2004: Desk officer in the olive oil sector
• 1997-2001: Desk officer for agri-environmental matters (DG ENV)

Former jobs:

• 1994-1997: Head of Sector for processed agricultural products in the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX)
• 1993-1994: Technical adviser in the dairy company Leche Pascual (Spain)



Tuesday 26 November, 2013
09.00 to 13.30




Renaissance Hotel, Brussels

Rue du Parnasse 19, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium

Tel: +32 2 505 29 29

Fax: +32 2 505 25 55

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