Keal elected as UKTRF Chair; Laura Page to lead new airports directorship

By Luke Barras-hill |

Keal has three decades of experience in senior duty free and travel retail roles in commercial positions.

The UK Travel Retail Forum (UKTRF) has elected Nigel Keal as its chairperson on a permanent basis.

Keal, who stepped in as interim chair following the departure of Rachel Bulford last year, was put forward unanimously by the Board of Directors with members voting on the decision in an un-opposed election held yesterday (29 June) at the Forum’s 24th AGM in Mayfair, central London.

During the AGM, members also voted to shake-up the Forum’s leadership by creating a new Directorship to represent regional airports led by Birmingham Airport Head of Commercial Laura Page.

Airports make up a sizeable portion of the organisation’s 60-strong membership base.

Page already fronts the Forum’s sustainability sub-group and steered the development of UKTRF’s ESG statement, published recently.

Updates from Europe

Julie Lassaigne, Secretary General, ETRC, offered UKTRF members key advocacy updates.

Commenting on his appointment and the AGM’s success, Keal said: “I’m delighted to have been elected as the Chair of UKTRF. Fulfilling the role over the last sixteen months has been a great privilege, and I’m pleased both the Board and membership have put their faith in me for another year.

“Post-Brexit, the travel retail landscape in the UK is incredibly unique. The role of organisations like UKTRF in helping businesses navigate the many commercial and regulatory challenges they face is more important than ever, and I’m proud that my time as interim Chair oversaw a significant period of growth for the Forum.

“As members heard yesterday at our in-person AGM, the UKTRF team has an ever-expanding range of advocacy projects, and we work hard to secure the best possible conditions for the travel retail channel. I look forward to another positive year for UKTRF and for our industry’s recovery.”

Thanking former UKTRF Chair Rachel Bulford, Director of Retail at Gatwick Airport, Keal added: “I would also like to thank my predecessor, Rachel Bulford for being an excellent UKTRF chair, Board member, and mentor to me during this transition.”

The AGM drew dozens of UKTRF members, who gathered to learn about UKTRF’s advocacy projects, including arrivals duty free, the campaign to restore tax free shopping, sustainability and the government-backed ‘One Too Many’ campaign.

Julie Lassaigne, Secretary General of the European Travel Retail Confederation (ETRC), joined the event from Brussels to give UKTRF members an update on Europe’s travel retail terrain and the association’s current priorities.

This accompanied a presentation of the latest ETRC Business Performance Index by Steve Hillam, Managing Director of the travel retail research specialists Pi Insight.

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