Rugby First chairman Robin Richter to retire at Christmas

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AFTER 14 years as the executive chairman of Rugby First, Robin Richter has announced his will retire at Christmas.

Mr Richter will continue as non-executive chairman in the new year after he retires from his current role.

Mr Richter, a hotel and catering graduate, grew up in Rugby and was instrumental in starting up the Town Centre Partnership in 1999, following a successful 30 year career in the hotel catering and hospitality sector, which included directorships at Sealink, Trusthouse Forte, Allied Domecq and Compass Catering.

Following the establishment of the Town Centre Partnership in 1999, Mr Richter 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.

Mr Richter 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 centre as a result of the promotion of town centre apartments and the over-shop improvement grant. The BID has been hugely successful and continues to be so. The town centre is now clean, safe and friendly with a great café society and some excellent cafes, bars and restaurants – all of which I am immensely proud of.

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. This will fall to my successor to implement and I wish him and the 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.”

Cllr Craig Humphrey, leader of Rugby Borough Council, said: “On behalf of the Council, I wish Robin all the best for his well-earned retirement. Robin has always been passionate in promoting Rugby through a period of unprecedented change in retailing, coupled with a very difficult economic climate. I travel around the country a lot and I know that Rugby is better placed than many similar towns in terms of its retailer offer, the number of vacancies, the cleanliness and safety of its public spaces and the quality and diversity of its evening economy. I don’t want to sound complacent in these very difficult times, but Rugby is doing better than a lot of towns and part of the credit for that lies with Robin”