End of an era as Brian Madderson retires from Petrol Retailers Association
December 31 saw the end of an era for the Petrol Retailers Association when Brian Madderson retired from his position as chairman.
The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) represents independent fuel retailers who account for 65% of all UK forecourts and provides a voice for all retailers both large and small.
The 12 years since Brian took over as chairman in 2009 have been a period of huge change for the fuel retail industry, with declining numbers of filling stations, competition from multiples, new trends towards foodservice and of course the recent seismic changes in forecourts due to climate policy.
Brian brought a huge amount of experience of the independent fuel retail sector to the role, with 20 years under his belt as managing director of George Hammond plc, one of the largest independent service station groups.
Throughout those 12 years, Brian has championed the cause of independent fuel retailers across the UK with verve and determination, and has been to the forefront of protecting members’ interests, whether challenging fuel duty increases, calling out unfair practices in road fuel retail, lobbying over business rates or exposing the activities of rogue car wash operators.
Brian has been a consistent voice of experience and expertise, bringing knowledge and insight to the role of lobbying changing government departments, and has become the face of the industry with numerous high-profile appearances on TV and radio and a willingness to visit all corners of the UK to meet face-to-face with retailers.
Under his tenure, the Petrol Retailers Association has retained 70% of the top 50 independent petrol retailers in membership, regional committees have been established in both Northern Ireland and Scotland and positive relations have been formed with key government officials and politicians in all four home countries.
He has led the Association through arguably one of the most difficult periods to date, unravelling the flow of Covid restrictions and regulations for members as they have sought advice and guidance, speaking up for the industry after a fuel supply scare saw customers queueing at stations and clarifying the outworkings of the current supply chain challenges.
In a tribute to Brian’s tireless efforts, the Retail Motor Industry Federation said that since his appointment, he had led the Associations to great success with the re-establishment of the Car Wash Association in 2016 of particular significance, especially during COVID-19 restrictions.
Brian visited Northern Ireland in October for the PRA’s Business Breakout at the Crowne Plaza, Shawsbridge, meeting with retailers and product suppliers.
That visit took in a whistle-stop series of meetings with Stormont departments, discussing a variety of issues including road fuels, organised crime, the introduction of E10, EV charging and the need to improve infrastructure, business rates and fuel laundering.
The PRA also met with the PSNI to discuss forecourt crime, as well as DVLA and the government concerning the importance of being able to extract keepers’ details in a timely manner after a driver has left the forecourt without paying.
As well as chairing the Petrol Retailers Association, Brian has sat on the RMIF board for more than nine years.
Peter Johnson, RMIF chairman, said: “During the period Brian has been chair, he has fulfilled all the expectations required of the position and worked tirelessly to improve and grow the Federation and its associations.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Brian, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours.” Gordon Balmer will continue in his role as executive director of the PRA and CWA following Brian’s retirement.
Gordon became executive director of both associations earlier this year when appointed as an RMIF board member, having joined the PRA in 2014 and previously served as commercial manager. He has extensive experience in the fuel industry having worked with BP for 30 years in a wide range of areas, with roles covering commercial fuel sales, international project management, UK fuel card manager and UK country manager in European Fleet Services.
“I am delighted to be executive director of the PRA and the CWA. We are currently working on a number of exciting initiatives, and I look forward to representing our members as the industry continues to transition towards low carbon transport with an increased focus on automated car washing and convenience retail,” Gordon said.
“I would also like to convey my thanks to Brian for his leadership and tireless work in representing our industry and on a personal note his guidance and friendship over the last seven years, I wish him and Jane the very best for a long and happy retirement.”
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