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Alliance announces new chief executive

THE COUNTRYSIDE Alliance has announced that Simon Hart has been nominated as chief executive designate. Mr. Hart will work alongside, and in due course replace, existing chief executive Richard Burge who, earlier this year, signalled his intention to move on.

Simon Hart, who is currently Director of the Campaign for Hunting, joined the Alliance four years ago, initially working in Wales and the West Midlands. He was chosen from a short-list which included external candidates.

Explaining the Board's decision Alliance Chairman John Jackson said: "Simon was chosen because of his complete grasp of our campaigning issues and because he has the planning, management and administrative skills to take on the position. His experience of every aspect of the Alliance's work, and his background in the agricultural industry working with farmers and land managers at a practical level, also fit him well for this important role".

Simon Hart said: "I feel privileged and excited at the prospect of taking over from and continuing the efforts of Richard Burge, whose enormous contribution to rural Britain over the last four years cannot be overestimated. This is a critical time for many people in the countryside, but we have a network of staff, volunteers, members and supporters who are dedicated to ensuring that the Alliance is active in defending the rights and livelihoods of all rural communities".

Mr Hart, 39 lives with his wife Abigail and his two children in West Wales. After attending agricultural college he spent 16 years working as a Chartered Surveyor specialising in agriculture and land management before joining the Alliance in 1999. For the last three years he has been Director of the Campaign for Hunting, successfully leading the defence of all forms of hunting with dogs. In his leisure time, Mr Hart enjoys all country sports and talks a very good game of cricket.