Combes leaves Safeway for Monsanto job

Monsanto has hired Safeway public affairs head Tony Combes to manage its UK corporate, public and media relations as controversy surrounding its products escalates.

Monsanto has hired Safeway public affairs head Tony Combes to

manage its UK corporate, public and media relations as controversy

surrounding its products escalates.



Combes, who has spent 14 years at the top four supermarket, will work

alongside Ann Foster, Monsanto’s public and government affairs

director.



Both will report to Monsanto Europe’s government, public and legal

affairs director Rufus Yerxa, who is based at the company’s Europe and

Africa headquarters in Brussels. ’Tony’s appointment is part of our

commitment to addressing the concerns surrounding GM crops in the UK,’

said Yerxa.



Monsanto was fined in a Lincolnshire magistrates’ court last week for

neglecting a barrier designed to stop a trial GM crop spreading into the

environment.



Recent press speculation suggests that the Government is about to impose

a two-year ban on the commercial planting of GM crops. The Government’s

current policy is that if trials show the crops to be safe, the

commercial planting of GM food could go ahead as early as spring

2000.



Combes currently reports to Safeway communications director Kevin

Hawkins and focuses on food health and safety issues. He has spent time

during the last year talking to farmers and local branches of the

National Farmers’ Union about their concerns with supermarkets.



At Monsanto, Foster and Combes will be supported by public affairs

manager Dan Verakis and the company’s UK agencies, Bell Pottinger Good

Relations and Charles Barker BSMG.



Monsanto which also makes food and health products, produces one of the

world’s leading herbicides, Roundup, and genetically altered soybean,

maize and rape seed that are also Roundup resistant.



Diary, p24.



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