Former director returns to lead Royal Norfolk Show charity through testing times

PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:11 24 September 2020

Former Royal Norfolk Show director Mark Nicholas is returning to lead the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association as its new managing director. Picture: Nick Butcher

Former Royal Norfolk Show director Mark Nicholas is returning to lead the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association as its new managing director. Picture: Nick Butcher

A familiar face is returning to lead the organisation behind the Royal Norfolk Show – and he said he will be looking to find new revenue streams during challenging times for the farming charity.

Mark Nicholas has been appointed to the new role of managing director at the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA), having previously overseen its flagship summer event as show director for three years until 2018.

The former army officer will return to the RNAA in January following the departure of current chief executive Greg Smith, who is standing own after eight years at the helm.

His appointment was confirmed this afternoon at the RNAA’s annual general meeting, which discussed the financial impacts of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which forced the cancellation of this year’s Royal Norfolk Show and Spring Fling and brought an uncertain outlook for the wider showground business.

Mr Nicholas said he was “delighted to be rejoining the RNAA” and looking forward to the challenge of managing the organisation through such testing times.

“Having worked closely with staff and stewards to deliver the Royal Norfolk Show over three years, I now look forward to the challenge of creating new ways of generating revenue from the charity’s assets to help us do more to support agriculture in Norfolk,” he said.

READ MORE: The Royal Norfolk Show will return in 2021 – but perhaps not as we know it

RNAA chairman Rob Alston added: “We are delighted that Mark is re-joining us and taking on the leadership role within the charity.

“Mark played an important part in the success of Royal Norfolk Show when he was with us, developing its commercial relationships and our presence within the wider community. He knows the charity well and understands the role we have in supporting agriculture.

“Clearly the next 12 months are going to be a major challenge, but we are confident that Mark’s appointment will help us to manage the situation carefully and continue to deliver our charitable objectives.”

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our departing chief executive, Greg Smith, for his leadership over the last eight years, and especially over recent difficult months. Greg has significantly grown our business and modernised the organisation during his tenure. We wish him the very best of luck in the future.”

Mr Nicholas is returning to the RNAA after two years as chief executive of the Priscilla Bacon Hospice appeal, where he will be replaced by former South Norfolk Council chief executive Sandra Dinneen.

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