New Chief Executive to take HTA to next level

The HTA has named Fran Barnes as the new Chief Executive.  With the recent additions of directors of Marketing and of Public Affairs it has a new management team.

Fran Barnes joins the HTA from the National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales (NFU), where she has worked for over 10 years, first as Head of Strategic Communications and subsequently as Director of Communications. Prior to joining the NFU, she held a number of editorial roles on food and farming programmes at the BBC.

Fran’s appointment follows the recent appointments of Jennifer Pheasey as Director of Public Affairs and Elia Johnston as Director of Marketing, as the HTA has strengthened its senior leadership team.

The President, The Chairman and the Chief Executive

The HTA is governed by the Council, an advisory representation of members which is chaired by the President, a two year honorary appointment currently held by Alan Down.  He is was a nurseryman and garden centre owner.  He also chairs the Board of Directors on which sits the Chairman of the management committee, James Barnes. 

The role of James Barnes, a former CEO of Dobbies, is also part time.  The pressures of Brexit and the Covid pandemic has massively increased his hours worked, leading to the creation of the full time Chief Executive position.  This will reduce the workload of the Chairman and of the President.

The management committee does the day to day running of the HTA.  It included the 3 new directors plus the long standing Finance Director, Alex Vick and Dave Denny, the director of Research and Insight.

What they said

Fran Barnes said: “I am delighted to be joining the HTA as Chief Executive. The horticulture sector delivers so much for the country’s economy, wellbeing and environmental sustainability, and the HTA’s reputation for supporting and representing its members – and the wider industry – is first class. I look forward to building upon its impact, as well as continuing to develop the services offered to members.”

President of the HTA, Alan Down said: “I’m very pleased to congratulate Fran on her appointment as the HTA’s first Chief Executive – she has demonstrated hugely effective leadership at the NFU and has a wealth of knowledge about rural affairs, which will greatly inform how we serve our members.

“Fran’s appointment is complemented by those of Jennifer Pheasey and Elia Johnston who recently joined us as Directors of Public Affairs and Marketing. Their appointments will strengthen our senior leadership team at a very exciting time for the industry and for the HTA, with horticulture playing an increasingly important part in people’s lives, not to mention the vital role it has in addressing environmental challenges.

Chairman of the HTA, James Barnes said: “Over the past six months we have put in place a fantastic senior leadership team, culminating with Fran’s recruitment. Her experience and expertise, particularly in the field of communications, will lend itself extremely well to taking the HTA to the next level. I’m very excited to work with Fran in further developing our strategy to support all our members in these ever-challenging times.”

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