The Automatic Vending Association has announced chief executive, Jonathan Hart, has decided to leave the organisation to return to the world of PR and communications in central London. He will remain with the AVA until Easter and will work alongside the board to help source a successor.
He commented: “I was told when I joined the AVA that the vending industry was a very friendly world and I have truly found that to be the case. The AVA is a great organisation which the team is justly proud of. We are always striving to do the best for members and to present the best face of vending to the outside world. It has been my privilege to be a part of that team and be a part of that activity.”
David Llewellyn, chairman of the board, commented: “Jonathan has contributed a great deal to the industry since he joined the AVA in 2015. Guiding us through the implementation of the new £1 coin; handling many, many press enquiries and building a position for the AVA as ‘first stop for comment’ regarding vending. We will be working closely with him over the next few months as we look to find his replacement.
“The AVA faces a number of challenges as we move forward and, although it is a shame he’s leaving, Jonathan’s departure gives us the opportunity to re-shape the organisation for the future, building on the work he has started.
“With Anna Mason finishing her contracted period at the end of the year and our temp Katy Packer starting her world travels in February, this means we can review what we offer the AVA members and how we fulfil these requirements.
“In my view, the AVA is crucial to maintaining the viability of the Vending Industry. Our members have a lot to offer in terms of service, product offering and convenience. It may seem that official bodies, government organisations and various quangos are determined to see us as the source of all things bad, piling new regulations and requirements upon us. But automated retailing is ideally placed to cater to changing needs and new markets. These facts need to be communicated professionally, forcefully and constantly – only the AVA is in a position to do this.
“The AVA faces a challenging financial future. We have to provide support for our members, protect and advance the industry whilst remaining solvent. I call upon all members, no matter how long you have been in the AVA, to muck in and take part. To contribute time, support, ideas – whatever you can!”
David will be attending the South West Regional Meeting in Bristol on November 16 and the Northern Regional meeting in Manchester on November 30. “I am keen to gather the views of both operator and supplier members of the AVA. To hear what they think the AVA does well; what could be improved; the direction the AVA should take. What about AVEX? How can the AVA offer more perceived ‘value’ to its members? Gathering in these views and suggestions will help up shape and structure the AVA for the future. I encourage all of those with a view to come along to these meetings, which are free to members.”