Dr James Pendlebury has been appointed Chief Executive of Forest Research, the scientific research and technical development agency of the Forestry Commission.
Dr Pendlebury, aged 47, was previously head of the Forestry Commission's team of specialist advisors. He has had a distinguished career in research, management and market development in the timber and forestry sectors in several countries.
He brings a wide range of experience to the post. He holds a BSc Honours degree in forestry from Aberdeen University, and was awarded a PhD from the same university for a thesis on the preservation characteristics of tropical hardwood species from Malaysia.
He has held timber research positions in several countries, including the UK, United States, South Africa and New Zealand. He has been head of the TNO Centre for Timber Research in The Netherlands and more recently Chief Executive of Highland Birchwoods in Scotland. Since joining the Forestry Commission six years ago he has held several posts, including business policy advisor for Forestry Commission Scotland and a period on secondment to the Scottish Government’s Renewable Policy Team.
He is a graduate of the Cabinet Office Leaders UK programme to develop management excellence in the public service, and a member of the Institute of Wood Science, the Institute of Directors and the International Research Group on Wood Preservation.
Welcoming his appointment, Tim Rollinson, Director-General of the Forestry Commission, said,
"I'm delighted that James Pendlebury has accepted this very important post.
"These are exciting times for forestry research. The Forestry Commission, including Forest Research, has a very important role to play in promoting and researching the potential of the forest sector to mitigate the damaging impacts of climate change, and in helping society to adapt to a changing climate. We have already announced our intention to establish a Centre for Forestry and Climate Change, and Forest Research will have a central role in that.
"At the same time we are developing new and exciting areas of activity for forestry and forest research. These include the role that woods and forests can play in combating social exclusion, in improving our urban greenspace, and in tackling environmental degradation, while continuing our more traditional role of supporting our timber growers with vital research and development work.
"These changing times call for strong, perceptive leadership at Forest Research. I believe Dr Pendlebury, with his depth and breadth of experience and understanding of the forest sector, coupled with his proven scientific, management and leadership skills, is well qualified to provide it. I very much look forward to working with him in his new role."
Dr Pendlebury added,
"I feel very privileged to have been entrusted with this role. Forest Research is at the cutting edge of forestry research and its internationally recognised scientists enjoy a global reputation for the quality of their science. I’m delighted to be appointed to lead Forest Research in these exciting times for world forestry, and I'm really looking forward to working with my colleagues to take on the scientific challenges and opportunities that climate change poses to forestry now and in the future."