Membership of the AFBI Board

Part of: AFBI Board

Board Members

Members have been appointed by the Minister for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) NI Code of Practice. The Chair receives an annual remuneration of £26,248 and is expected to commit approximately 40 days per annum to the post.  The Deputy Chair receives £10,941 and has a commitment in the region of 20 days per annum. 

Mr. Colm McKenna (AFBI Chairperson)

Mr Colm McKenna
Colm McKenna enjoyed a long and successful career in Financial Services with Bank of Ireland Group, taking early retirement in October 2008.  His final position was Head of Marketing Services, UK, but he previously held the positions of Head of Group Marketing, NI, and Head of Treasury and International Banking.

Mr. McKenna was previously Deputy Chair of Investment Belfast (Belfast City Council) and Chair of the NI Euro Preparations Forum (DETI). He is a Business Administration Graduate from Manchester Business School.

Mr. McKenna is Chairman of the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust, Chairman of Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care (NICON), Chairman of BBC NI Appeals Advisory Committee, Chairman of the NI Assembly Secretariat Audit and Risk Committee, Chairman of NI Food Advisory Committee, a non-executive director of the Food Standards Agency, a non-executive director of the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service, Chairman of Club Aontroma, a registered charity responsible for fundraising to assist Antrim GAA.  

Colm lives in Glenavy, Co Antrim with his wife Giuseppa and they have two grown-up children and six grandchildren.

Register of Interests/Gifts & Hospitality- Mr Colm McKenna

Prof. Bill McKelvey OBE (AFBI Deputy Chairperson)

Prof Bill McKelvey
Professor Bill McKelvey is an Ulsterman, born and raised on a dairy farm in County Down, who has spent most of his professional career working in Scotland.  He currently lives near Peebles in the Scottish Borders.

He was Chief Executive and Principal of the Scottish Agricultural College for ten years until early 2012.  He is a Non-Executive Director of Scotland’s largest farming business, Glenrath Farms.  He holds one other Ministerial appointment: he is a member of the Board of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

He holds a first class honours degree in veterinary science from the University of Glasgow, a postgraduate diploma from the University of Guelph, Canada, and a PhD from the University of Aberdeen.  He also holds an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the University of Edinburgh.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to Agriculture.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies, and was recently elected as the Moderator of the Scottish Panel of the Council for the Awards for the Royal Agricultural Societies.  He is also Chair of the Farmers' Club selection panel for the annual Pinnacle Awards made to Agriculture students from across the UK.

Register of Interests/Gifts & Hospitality- Prof Bill McKelvey

Mrs. Maureen McKeague

Mrs Maureen McKeague
Maureen McKeague enjoyed a successful career with Ulster Bank Group before establishing her own business, Lynx Business Services in 1995.  During her career with Ulster Bank, Maureen completed her Banking Certificate and Trustee Diploma with the Institute of Bankers in Ireland before achieving first place in the coveted Financial Studies Diploma with Chartered Institute of Bankers at a ceremony in London. Maureen previously worked as the International Fund for Ireland’s only female development consultant, developing a successful track record in project development in partnership with DARD and DSD.  

Maureen is currently Chief Executive Officer with Derg Valley Care, a local charity which provides health and social care.  Maureen has worked tirelessly to develop DVC as a high-quality social care provider, winning the prestigious National Training Award – individual category in 2010.  
Maureen has spent much of her spare time researching the benefits of complementary therapy and coaching as a supportive intervention for long term conditions, graduating in the first cohort as a Mental Health and Wellbeing Life Coach in 2015 through Kingstown College and is currently working towards a coaching supervision diploma as well as furthering qualifications in sport and physical activity field.

Register of Interests/Gifts & Hospitality- Mrs Maureen McKeague

Mr. Colin Coffey

Mr Colin Coffey
Mr. Colin Coffey lives in Bangor. He is a Chartered Director and Fellow of the Institute of Directors with extensive experience in Corporate Governance.
Mr. Coffey has held a number of senior management posts within the Northern Ireland Food Industry including Chief Executive of United Feeds and Manufacturing Director at Pritchitt Foods. He is currently non Executive Chairman of Flint Studios a software development company, 4 Beauty Group a specialist skincare company and is Corporate Services Director of the RDA Group a specialist Property Development company.

Register of Interests/Gifts & Hospitality- Mr Colin Coffey

Mr. Ian Buchanan

Mr Ian Buchanan
Ian lives in the North West outside Dungiven on the family farm.  The hill farm is all in pasture which is utilised by sheep and a dairy herd.  A past President of the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster, he has had a long term involvement in Rural Development, being a past member of the Rural Development Council and a past Chairman of the North West Local Action Group in the 2007 – 2013 Rural Development Programme.  Ian was a founder member and inaugural Secretary/Treasurer for the first 25 years of Sperrin Producers Co-op.

He is a member of the Ulster Farmers’ Union having served as the Rural Development Chair and is the immediate past Chair of the Hill Farming Committee.  He is the elected Northern Ireland Regional member for the British Wool Marketing Board and is currently the Chairman.  He is also a member of the Northern Ireland committee of Lakeland Dairies.

Ian is married to Pamela and they have five grown up children.

Register of Interests/Gifts & Hospitality- Mr Ian Buchanan

Dr. Michelle Costello-Smith

Michelle Costello-Smith
Dr Michelle Costello-Smith
Dr. Michelle Costello-Smith is a qualified medical physician from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) who lives in Oldcastle, Co Meath.

Dr. Costello-Smith has held numerous NCHD clinical positions in the Irish Public healthcare system (HSE) managing patient clinical care prior to transitioning into the pharmaceutical industry in 2000. With over 16 years experience working in roles of increasing responsibility in: Quintiles (Clinical Research Organisation), 2004 AstraZeneca (UK), 2008 Abbott Ireland Ltd and 2013 AbbVie Limited, Dr. Costello-Smith has successfully executed and managed National Research & Development (R&D) academic and clinical programmes. Her accomplishments include: developing and implementing a national medical department for successful delivery of: all local national clinical research, national medical strategy, quality assurance and related governance / procedural / audit oversight, compliance regulatory and medical affairs activities, in addition to budget management.

In her most recent role as Medical Director of an international biopharmaceutical company, she has been a senior leader within the management team of the national commercial organisation prior to taking a career break in March 2016 to raise her young children on the family beef and sheep farm in rural County Meath.

Gifts & hospitality register & Register of interests - Michelle Costello-Smith

Ms. Theresa Cullen

Theresa Cullen
Ms Theresa Cullen
Ms. Theresa Cullen gained an Honours degree at the University of Leeds. She has held a variety of scientific roles in the fields of Chemistry, Research & Development and Technical Sales Consultancy in the Food and allied industries. She has significant experience in Organisational Strategy and Management Consultancy - working for many years in the Statutory, Voluntary and Community Sectors as well as working as a Practitioner in the field of Conflict Resolution and Community Relations. 

Ms. Cullen holds an MSc in Counselling and Therapeutic Communication from the University of Ulster, is a BACP Accredited and UK Registered Counsellor/Psychotherapist, an EMDR Practitioner, specialising in Trauma Therapy and has held a number of senior Clinical Service Management roles in a range of organisations. Theresa lives with her partner in Co. Antrim.

Gifts & hospitality register & Register of interests - Theresa Cullen

Mrs. Fiona Hanna

Fiona Hanna
Mrs Fiona Hanna
Mrs. Fiona Hanna is a Chartered Accountant by profession and Principle in her own Practice.  Fiona was previously an Audit Manager with Deloitte. She is a Board member of the Ulster Farmers Union and of Mourne, Gullion & Lecale Rural Development Partnership. 

Fiona Hanna lives on the family farm in rural County Down near Rathfriland. She is a member of Rathfriland Young Farmers Club, having previously held a Directorship with the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster.

Gifts & hospitality register & Register of interests - Fiona Hanna

Dr. Richard Horton

Richard Horton
Dr Richard Horton
Dr. Richard Horton is a Chartered Engineer and lives in Belfast.  He has held research and business centre management roles at Mars Limited UK and the Harwell Laboratory UK.  From 1985 to 1989 he was First Secretary (Technology), serving as the diplomatic representative of the UK’s civilian technology interests at the British Embassy in Washington DC, before working for the Hong Kong Government as Technical Advisor (Telecommunications), advising on  telecommunications policy and regulation. 

Dr. Horton was Group Manager in Cable and Wireless PLC (London) and Director for the European Network for Communications and Information Perspectives (ENCIP, France) where he led policy and socio-economic research.  He has also worked as a consultant in strategic business development, policy and regulation and was Senior Programme Manager at the Commission for Communications Regulation (Ireland) working in technology foresight and regulation.  More recently, he worked as a consultant in technological innovation, strategic business development, policy and regulation at White Rose Consulting (NI) and is founder and Managing Director of Carritech Research Ltd (NI).

Gifts & hospitality register & Register of interests - Richard Horton

Ms. Joan Houston

Joan Houston
Ms Joan Houston
Ms. Joan Houston lives in Bangor, Co Down and as a Chartered Accountant, has previously held management positions at Peat Marwick Mitchell (KPMG), Deloitte Haskins Sells and as Assistant Director at Ernst and Young LLP (now EY).  From 2011 to 2014 as partner, she founded the NI practice of Begbies Traynor PLC, before becoming Chief Executive at Houston Hunter.

Ms. Houston was a founding member of the Insolvency Licensing Committee and Chairman since 2007 at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (CAI) and its Chartered Accountant Regulatory Board and is its representative for the UK Joint Insolvency Council.  In September 2016 she was appointed to the Regulatory Policy Board for CAI.  Ms. Houston was elected as NI Representative in 2012 (having previously been NI Chairman) of the UK Association of Business Recovery Professionals Council -R3. She is a member of NI Insolvency Rules Committee.  Ms. Houston has served as a General Commissioner for Tax for 20 years and as Governor, Chairman and Finance Director at Hunterhouse College. 

Gifts & hospitality register & Register of interests - Joan Houston

Mrs. Sharon Smyth

Sharon Smyth
Mrs Sharon Smyth
Mrs. Sharon Smyth lives in Ardstraw, Co Tyrone with her husband Mervyn and four children. A designated Certified Banker, Mrs. Smyth worked as a Relationship Manager in the First Trust Bank for over 35 years and stills retains her membership with the Institute of Bankers. Mrs. Smyth had responsibility for a variety of client relationships across a number of sectors including agriculture, retail, manufacturing and construction.

Following early retirement in 2013, she opened her own Business and Financial Consultancy business SME Smyth Business & Financial Consultant. Mrs. Smyth works with a variety of organisations including: Countryside Rural Agri Partnership, Rural Support, Derry City and Coleraine Borough Councils as well as Enterprise NI – Business Start-Up (formally known as NI Small Business Loan Fund). Mrs. Smyth currently volunteers as Chairperson of "Ardstraw Against Trafficking", an anti-human trafficking awareness group. Mrs. Smyth has also travelled extensively with various missionary organisations, travelling as far as India, the Andaman Islands, Zimbabwe and Romania; working with those who are severely disadvantaged and in need.

Gifts & hospitality register & Register of interests - Sharon Smyth

Mr. Richard Solomon

Richard Solomon
Mr Richard Solomon
Mr. Richard Solomon lives in Belfast and is a self-employed Barrister specialising in Commercial, Corporate, Civil, Land, Litigation, Banking and Intellectual Property Law. From 1990 to 2005, he was Director of Laser Electrical, the Caroline Group and Solomon & Peres group of companies with a combined turnover in excess of £25million.  

Following this, Mr. Solomon worked as a Solicitor at MKB Russells, ABR Plc and Sheldon and Stewart, dealing in Commercial, Corporate, Banking, Litigation and Franchising Law. From 2013 Mr. Solomon has been a Director of the Victims and Survivors Service and sits as a Legal Aid Panel Member for the Legal Services Agency.

Gifts & hospitality register & Register of interests - Richard Solomon