Rugby First appoint new chairman

editorial image

Rugby First has appointed a new non-executive chairman to replace Robin Richter.

Alistair George will step into the role following Robin Richter’s announcement to retire earlier this month.

Robin had held the position since Christmas 2012, following his retirement from the full time post of Executive Chairman for Rugby First, an organisation he had steered for 15 years.

Alistair, a chartered surveyor and graduate from the University of Central England (now Birmingham University), is a director of town centre based companies, George & Company and Storers, and brings a wealth of experience to the role.

A local man and member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, Alistair is also an assessor for the associate grade of membership of RICS, a national committee member of ICBA (Institute of Commercial and Business Agents) and past chairman of Rugby Round Table.

Alistair said: “Robin has done an excellent job and on behalf of Rugby First and the local business community I would like to extend our thanks and wish him well in his retirement. He was instrumental in establishing the Town Centre Partnership in 1999, and then oversaw its transition to a separate independent company in 2002. He then led the successful development of the BID in 2005 and the merger of the Town Centre Company and the BID in 2010 after a second successful BID campaign.”

Alistair continued: “For the past 15 years he has successfully steered the town centre through some extremely challenging economic times. As a result of his efforts Rugby is now better placed than many similar towns in terms of its retail offer, the number of vacancies, the cleanliness and safety of its public spaces and the quality and diversity of its evening economy. We now have a town centre we can be proud of. It is clean, safe and friendly with a great café society with some excellent cafes, bars and restaurants – much of the credit for this lies with Robin and I look forward to continuing and developing his excellent work and that of Rugby First.”

Robin commenting on his time in office said: “I grew up in Rugby and love the town so it has been a real privilege for me to play a part in trying to improve its overall perception. There have been many highlights, including the launch and development of the ‘Rugby Festival of Culture’. Through the shop front improvement and historic buildings grant, and close cooperation with the council and business community, we have helped to improve the overall appearance of the town. More people now live in the town centre as a result of the promotion of town centre apartments and the over-shop improvement grant. We have developed a café society in the past few years which is the envy of many local and competing towns.”

Robin continued: “The BID has been hugely successful and continues to be so. It is regarded as one of the top three in the country. The economic climate over the past few years has been challenging which is frustrating as we have not been able to deliver the number and type of shops we would have liked. I still remain extremely positive about the future of Rugby Town Centre and we now have a new strategic plan in place which we are delivering on. I wish Alistair, Aftab and Rugby Borough Council all the best going forward. I have always had an excellent working relationship with the Council and they have been extremely supportive of what we are trying to achieve.”