New National Forest Company Chair and New Year Honours for Chief Executive

22nd Jan 2024
Tony Ballance


To start 2024, we are delighted to announce that Dr Tony Ballance has been elected as the new Chair of the National Forest Company (NFC) taking over from Lord Duncan of Springbank who stood down at the end of December 2023 having completed his term of office. 

Tony has extensive Board level experience in strategy, regulation and sustainability in the utility and environmental sectors.  He is presently Chief Strategy & Regulation Officer at Cadent Gas Ltd - the largest of the UK’s gas distribution businesses, where he leads the company’s work to deliver net zero through their decarbonisation strategy.  He was formerly Director of Strategy & Regulation at Severn Trent, has a background as an economic consultant and was Ofwat’s Chief Economist.  He is a Trustee of the Soil Association and was previously a Trustee of the National Forest Company between 2015 and 2022. 

Tony joins at an exciting time for the National Forest, with new initiatives including the Midlands Forest Network, the Forest for the Nation competition and re-development of the Conkers visitor attraction. Speaking about his appointment Tony said: 

I am thrilled to be rejoining the National Forest Board as Chair.  As someone who grew up in the area and has lived in and around the National Forest for the past thirty years it is very close to my heart. I have seen first-hand how the region has been completely transformed by the National Forest. 

I am looking forward to working with the NFC team, Government and all our partners to continue this success, and demonstrate to others beyond our boundary how trees can be the inspiration and catalyst for positive change.     

John Everitt


We are also pleased to celebrate our Chief Executive, John Everitt, being awarded an OBE for services to conservation in the King’s New Year Honours. John has now led the National Forest Company for nine years, seeing it double in size and turnover during this time.  Reflecting on his award John said: 

The OBE is a recognition of the small part that I have played over more than 30 years to further the cause of nature conservation and help reverse biodiversity decline. I am delighted to accept it on behalf of my talented colleagues at the National Forest Company and the amazing and dedicated people I have worked with over the years, some of whom are sadly no longer with us. 

It is also a reflection of how important this work has become in the era of climate change. I am incredibly proud to be part of a generation that is now turning the tide on decades of environmental degradation.  

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