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

James, MD of Cambridgeshire retailer James Graven, will begin his two-year tenure as ACS chair in November. He has been vice chairman of the body since 2007.

He will take over the hot seat from Nisa-Today’s boss Neil Turton – who has been persuaded to retain a senior role within the organisation, taking the unusual step of returning to the vice chairman post he previously held. Tim Hurrell, chief executive of food at The Co-operative Group, remains as deputy vice chairman.

James, who runs stores under the Budgens and Spar fascias, is well respected within the retail industry and has emerged as a leading spokesman on key issues affecting independents including retail crime.

“Having been closely involved with ACS, I have seen the outstanding work that the organisation does for the industry,” he said. “We need a powerful, professional and responsible voice within government – and the ACS provides that.”

James added: “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.”

A spokesman for the body told The Grocer James and Turton had proved such a successful team and there had been clamour for them to continue working together.

Turton commented: “It has been an honour to chair the ACS for the past two years. We have become an even more effective lobby group over that period and I am proud of the progress we have made.

“Throughout my time in the chair, I have received 100% commitment and support from the whole board, and I know that Jonathan can count on the same as he leads us forward.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman added: “Jonathan 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.”

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