Suffolk Show body seeks CEO to establish ‘one culture’ at SAA

The Suffolk Show if full flow this year.

The Suffolk Show if full flow this year.

The organisation behind the Suffolk Show has launched a new drive to find its next boss.

Nicola Bateman became the first woman chief executive in the 184-year history of the Suffolk Agricultural Association (SAA) when she took up the post in January, but she left after five months. The events high-flyer decided to return to the mainstream events industry, where she had worked for many years.

She was brought in after executive director Christopher Bushby decided to step down last year after 20 years at the helm.

The SAA, which is run by the county’s farmer members, went through major change last year when a new trustee board was formed to lead the organisation.

The new slimmed-down governance structure was given the green light by the Charities Commission last year and created a new leaner set-up which meant decisions could be made faster and to the benefit of the organisation and its showcase event, the Suffolk Show.


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The association was determined to turn the show, which was loss-making and propped up by the charity, into a break-even event, and this year’s event achieved that.

The show broke even, and attendance soared to more than 90,200 people, as improvements to the content and structure of the event, a high profile marketing campaign and perfect weather helped attract the highest number of visitors in a decade.

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The new chief executive will report to chairman, Robert Rous, and the trustee board to deliver its charitable objectives.

He or she will take charge of all the day-to-day operations of the charity, including overseeing the annual Suffolk Show, and its year-round, on-site commercial activities through the Trinity Park Conference and Event Centre. The successful candidate will also be responsible for a range of education programmes and other events, and will work alongside the show director and show committee to “improve the event as a great day out and also as a means to raise awareness of the importance of food, farming and the countryside to Suffolk”.

“The new chief executive will play a key role in the successful management and growth of the Suffolk Agricultural Association and will have a strong general management background to oversee all areas of the organisation including finance, HR and IT,” the SAA said.

“The association is also looking for a practical, hands-on leader who can also demonstrate commercial success, able to identify and pursue new business opportunities.

“As a charity, the association is heavily reliant on Trustees and on an extensive network of volunteers and motivation of this influential body will be a key element to the role, as well as management of the staff team.”

The SAA’s core purpose is to promote the importance of food, farming and the countryside to the economy and character of Suffolk through the Suffolk Show itself and a series of education programmes aimed at young people in schools and colleges.

A key challenge for the new chief executive will be establishing a ‘one culture’ organisation, balancing charitable and commercial objectives.

Next year’s Suffolk Show will be held on June 1 and 2 at Trinity Park.

For more information visit www.suffolkshow.co.uk.

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