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David French to step down

Published: 30 July 2009
In a statement released today, following a meeting between Charles Harrison and BHETA president Andrew Weiss, the association confirmed the resignation of David French and Helen Hibbert and resolution of legal proceedings against Mr Harrison.
David French to step down
The statement also outlined the next steps in a proposed move to Birmingham, which would not include joining the BJGFF. The statement is reproduced in its entirety below.

"The Board of BHETA has received a signed undertaking from Charles Harrison not to publish any confidential information relating to BHETA in his possession. As a result BHETA now consider the matter closed and will not seek to pursue any costs.

It was agreed that the cost base of BHETA has to be reduced as soon as is practicably possible.

That this may be achieved by an association with the BJGFF, but under a revised format than originally proposed.

Charles Harrison has been invited (along with Andrew Weiss), to meet with representatives from the BJGFF to discuss a number of formats that would allow BHETA the opportunity to relocate to Federation House in a way which was not dependent on BHETA joining the BJGFF.

David French has informed the board of his intention to leave the association. At the board's request he has agreed to stay until no later than the next agm, which we expect to take place in April 2010. This is to ensure that he is able to help the Association through a possible relocation whilst maintaining services during its busiest period.

Helen Hibbert has resigned her position from the BHETA board with immediate effect. The board is pleased to announce that Nick Ryder, managing director of Le Creuset, has agreed to be co-opted on to the board.

That the Board will continue with the recruitment of a replacement housewares director but, dependent on timing, we might need to put in place an interim manager.

The board will ensure that the sector committees are consulted at every stage and that the members are kept fully informed. Once we have a solution it will be agreed by the members before implementation."

Speaking to our sister site this morning, Andrew Weiss described his meeting with Charles Harrison as "very, very positive. We have a lot of principles in common and we're working to try to achieve a medium and long-term solution."

He also explained that a plan had been put in place to resolve potential staffing problems arising from the original plan to leave the Northampton headquarters.

"In the short term we have staff leaving tomorrow, and staff that we had recruited with a view to moving to Birmingham," he said. "David French has secured the continued employment in the short term of the staff who were going to Birmingham, so the short term staffing of Northampton has been secured."

As to a potential move to Birmingham, he went on: "In the medium term, Charles and I both agree that the cost base needs to be reduced, so we need to do what we originally intended which is to try to find a way of sharing expenses. Charles and I are going to meet with the BJGF, because they've got spare capacity there."

Charles Harrison told that he was very satisfied with the way BHETA was now handling the situation.

"I'm really pleased the Board have taken account of the members' views," he said. "Having said that, it's important that solutions are achieved for the benefit of BHETA and its members. I welcomed the meeting with Andrew, and believe we've got a lot of common ground to work positively for the future of BHETA."


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