FoodDrinkEurope appoints new Director General

Published: 03/01/2022

(Brussels, 3 January 2022) FoodDrinkEurope is pleased to announce the appointment of Dirk Jacobs as its new Director General, effective from 1 January 2022. He takes over from Mella Frewen, who stepped down after almost 15 years in the role.

Mr Jacobs’ task will be to guide the organisation of Europe’s food and drink industry – a sector with almost 290,000 businesses – in its mission to help deliver more sustainable food systems.

Mr Jacobs, a Dutch national, has been with FoodDrinkEurope since 2010, holding various roles within the organisation. For the past eight years he has been Deputy Director General and has headed its department for consumer information, nutrition and health topics.

Most recently, he played a pivotal role working with the European Commission and other food chain stakeholders to develop the EU Code of Conduct for Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices, launched in July 2021.  

FoodDrinkEurope President and Nestlé Europe CEO, Marco Settembri, said: “The future of Europe’s food and drink industry is in good hands. Dirk is highly competent and ambitious, and our companies, national federations and sector organisations will give him their full support in his mission to lead the industry to deliver truly sustainable food systems.”

Mr Jacobs said it was an honour to become Director General: “I am grateful for the trust the Board of Directors has placed in me and I am very excited to start this new collaboration. I feel enormously proud to work for Europe’s food and drink industry – a diverse and unique sector, the EU’s largest manufacturing employer, which is intrinsic to Europe’s social, cultural and economic fabric and whose products form an indispensable part of people’s daily lives. It is a real privilege to help drive an ambitious transformative process for our sector – and for agri-food systems at large – in the coming years and to embark on this journey together with my great colleagues, members and partners.”

Both Mr Settembri and Mr Jacobs also paid tribute to outgoing Director General Mella Frewen.

“I have had the great pleasure of working closely with Mella for many years. She has been an excellent leader and a great mentor, from whom I have learned so much and I inherit a strong-standing organisation. She leaves big shoes to fill,” said Mr Jacobs.

“We thank Mella for all of her hard work and fantastic achievements at FoodDrinkEurope and wish her well as she embarks on the next chapter in her life,” added Mr Settembri.