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BMA chief executive to stand down

Yvonne Orgill, chief executive of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA), is to step down from the post.

Orgill, 62, who is the first female chief executive in the bathroom industry, will take on a part-time, non-executive role once a suitable replacement has been found. She has been at the association for 33 years.

She told kbbreview that the BMA needed “new blood” and a younger leader to take it forward into the interesting, but challenging, post-Brexit future.

The BMA is currently recruiting for the role, and Orgill urged applications from anyone with a can-do attitude and UK Prime Minister Theresa May-like tenacity.

“I believe the person to replace me will have the right personality, tenacity and drive,” she said, but they didn’t necessarily have to come from the bathroom industry. “The BMA has the knowledge,” she said.

Orgill is looking forward to spending more time with her family and working with the new leader on “exciting, innovative” projects.

As for highlights of a career of more than three decades leading the BMA, she said championing the single labelling standard for water and energy efficiency across the European Union (EU) for taps and showers “topped them all”.

She has seen various iterations of the association in her tenure, overseeing the demise of the Bathroom Association in 2001.

“The Bathroom Association represented the whole industry; the manufacturers, merchants and distributors, all under one roof,” Orgill said. “But they didn’t have common goals. The manufacturers wanted more technical support, while the retailers wanted help with more foot traffic in their showrooms.

“It collapsed on May 3, 2001, and half-an-hour later, we formed the BMA with 15 manufacturers and grew it.

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“We took on the budget deficit from the old association and grew it from strength to strength over the past 18 years.”

Orgill, described herself as a bit of a “pioneer” in the industry as the first female CEO of the association and first female CEO of the National Home Improvement Council (NHIC).

She said that going forward, sustainability would continue to be a massive issue for the industry and that the association must keep abreast of global activity and innovation in this space.

“It isn’t going away. The domestic environment has a substantial impact on carbon emissions and we need to learn from other industries how they’re adapting and changing.”

On whether there will be more clarity on what the future trading relationship between the UK and EU will look like after this weekend’s crunch Brussels summit, Orgill doesn’t believe there will be, but expected more detail by the end of November.

“We are in interesting times, but also challenging times.”

Orgill said she joined the industry body in her late 20s as an information assistant, and was repeatedly told that she would never be able to work her way up because she didn’t have a degree and was a woman.

She ended up getting a business degree from the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) in her 30s.

She believes the BMA, which now represents about 100 bathroom brands and is the voice of the industry to government, offers good value for money for its industry and is often underutilised as a resource.

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