Campaigning retailer and champion of independents Jonathan James has been appointed the next chairman of the Association of Convenience Stores.

James, MD of Cambridgeshire retailer James Graven, will begin his two-year tenure as chairman in November. He will replace Nisa-Today's CEO Neil Turton, who has been persuaded to retain a key presence within the organisation by returning to the role of vice chairman. Tim Hurrell, The Co-op Group's chief exec food, stays deputy vice chairman.

James, who runs stores under both the Budgens and Spar fascias, is a highly-respected figure within the retail industry and has emerged as a leading spokesman on key issues affecting independents, ­including retail crime. He has been vice chairman of the ACS since 2007.

"I have seen the outstanding work the ACS does for the industry. We need a powerful, professional and responsible voice within government, and the ACS provides that," said James. "I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to work with our dynamic board and a high-performing executive team to make the ACS even more successful in the future."

An ACS spokesman told The Grocer that James and Turton had proved a successful combination and that there had been demand for them to continue working together.

"It has been an honour to chair ACS for the past two years," said Turton. "We have become an even more effective lobby group over that period, and I am proud of the progress we have made. I am also delighted to be able to continue to support Jonathan and the ACS. Throughout my time in the chair, I have received 100% commitment and support from the board, and I know Jonathan can count on the same as he leads us ­forward."

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "The ACS team are delighted to be working with Jonathan as chairman. He has been an unwavering supporter of our work for a number of years, and is unrivalled among retailers as an advocate for the sector in government and the media."