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
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,’
Monsanto was fined in a Lincolnshire magistrates’ court last week for
neglecting a barrier designed to stop a trial GM crop spreading into the
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
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.