KC Chairman to step down
Peter James 'not to seek re-election' after six years

ONLY EIGHT days after the 129th Kennel Club AGM reported in last week's issue, Chairman Mr Peter James and indicated he is to retire from the post.

In a detailed press release issued last Friday he said that he had planned to retire but did not want to send out the wrong signals before last week's AGM by announcing it beforehand. His Vice Chairman Mr Ronnie Irving is expected to succeed to the 'chair' after just under one year in the post.
The full press release read as follows:-

‘Having served as Chairman of the Kennel Club for nearly six years, and as vice-Chairman for some eight years before that, I decided earlier this year not to let my name go forward for re-election. However I felt that to make an announcement before the AGM could send out a confusing message, so I have waited until the AGM is past. To remain on the General Committee could present difficulties both to me and to my successor, so I will also stand down as a Trustee.

‘When the late John MacDougall originally invited me to stand for election as his vice-Chairman I accepted on the understanding that I would not be able to do much more than attend the Kennel Club on days of General and F&GP Committee meetings, as I had a company to manage during the week and a kennel full of dogs to fill my weekends.

‘I therefore had very little idea of what awaited me as Chairman. Needless to say my own two vice-Chairmen, first Peter Mann and now Ronnie Irving, have had no such luxury, and each has provided a level of support and hard work without which my job could not have been done. Having been bold enough to step into the shoes of Sybil Churchill, Peter is now an outstanding Chairman of Crufts, while Ronnie has been my consultant and confidant for the last twelve months in all Kennel Club matters. I would take this opportunity to thank them both most sincerely for their manifest ability and unswerving loyalty, both to me and to the Kennel Club.

‘John MacDougall had built up the Kennel Club both structurally and financially, and I was fortunate to take over a thriving enterprise, logically formulated to its purpose, and a committee that rapidly united behind me.

‘I will always be grateful to the members of that committee over my term of office, collectively and individually, for the freedom of their debate on the one hand and their loyal acceptance of committee decisions on the other. Not all decisions have been easy to reach, but once arrived at the committee has staunchly united behind the majority view.

‘I have been fortunate too in my staff. Roger French was appointed Chief Executive in John MacDougall's time. We have worked well together, with the clear-cut guidelines of committee responsibility for policy and strategy, and executive responsibility for their implementation, always with communication and understanding between Chairman and Chief Executive. Roger's management skills have brought out the potential of existing staff, and brought in the skills that were needed as the Kennel Club's role expanded. My successor will be fortunate to inherit a "home-grown" Chief Executive in the universally liked and respected Rosemary Smart, supported by a very able Secretary in Caroline Kisko, and a staff who have proved their professional worth over some very difficult times.


‘To have been Chairman of the Kennel Club is a great honour and privilege, and I am most grateful to the membership who elected me to the General Committee, and to that Committee for electing me to the Chairmanship. I did not seek it, but I am extraordinarily proud to have been entrusted with it. It has been a wonderful five and a half years, if increasingly demanding, and if things have changed in my time I hope they have generally been to the benefit of the Club and of the Dog, and of the people who care for either or both of them. Of course in very many ways I am sad to go, but I do so knowing that it is better to go now than later, and that I leave the Kennel Club in capable hands that hold it and its objectives just as important as I do myself.’

After the death of John MacDougall in November 1996 it was a sombre and serious Peter James who was thrust into the limelight at the KC Bi-Annual General Meeting. Although he may have been a reluctant successor in the cruellest of circumstances he showed himself to be able and willing to cope with the pressures of the job. Only for a short time in 2001 was he unwell and unable to take a meeting.

Last week at the AGM members voted to increase the membership ceiling of the club by 750 to 1500 but then defeated a General Committee proposal to 'fast track' associates.

Now within the space of twelve months the Kennel Club will have a new Chief Executive, new chairman, new Crufts chairman, new vice chairman and two new trustees.

At its meeting next Tuesday June 11th. the members of the General Committee will be focussed to elect a successor as Vice Chairman. If the election last year of the Crufts Committee chairman is anything to go by, when the then vice chairman Terry Thorn failed to be elected, there could be some surprises as well as some willing names in the frame. For instance, Mr Norman Ziman has given time freely to the Kennel Club and currently serves as its Club Chairman. We cannot ignore the wealth of knowledge from and the contribution to Kennel Club activities by the many ladies who now grace the General Committee. After 23 years as full members will we see a lady in such a position of power for the first time?

But there are others who will bring different strengths to the table and these talents must not be ignored if the progress of KC Services Ltd is to continue.

It also has to be uppermost in the minds of those with the gift of a vote that the new vice chairman must not be a 'poodle' of the committee's chairman but must be able to contribute and share those responsibilities currently on the shoulders of others.

OUR DOGS expects to have news of the elections in time for its June 14th issue.


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