English UK has appointed a senior industry figure as interim chief executive until a permanent replacement is found for Eddie Byers, who died in November.
Richard Day is owner of English in Chester and has been an active board member of English UK and predecessor organisation ARELS for around 30 years. He takes up his post immediately, and has already had discussions with senior staff.
Steve Phillips, chair of the English UK Board, said: "We are very grateful to Richard for accepting this role at a very challenging time for our industry, and we are looking forward to working with him. The association has a robust strategy in place, developed by Eddie Byers with the Board, and Richard will be using this to take English UK forward, supported by the staff team."
Mr Day, who was a member of the working party that created English UK over a decade ago, said he had felt "honoured and flattered" to be offered the role, and was looking forward to getting started. "I love a new challenge and am very fortunate to be offered this in what must be the closing stage of my career in this industry," he said, adding that English UK had a "considered and robust" strategic plan, created by Eddie Byers, and that he hoped to make some progress towards achieving its objectives. "This is a part-time caretaker role and my main job is to support the English UK team in the great work that they are doing," said Mr Day.
He added: "English UK will not thrive in isolation. I hope to work constructively with our main stakeholders to deliver a stronger association and better climate in which our industry can prosper," he said. While he acknowledged that the ELT industry was going through a tough patch, he thought English UK was in good shape. "Under Eddie it took stock and was ready to move forwards - it is a tragedy on so many levels that Eddie is no longer with us.
"We are really fortunate to have a team of dedicated and hard-working people in the office. We also have many industry experts on our main and subsidiary boards to provide direction in the current difficult circumstances."
Describing Eddie Byers as "an all-round fantastic person," Mr Day paid tribute to his effect on English UK. "We would talk from time to time informally exchanging views and opinions. I always felt good at the end of each discussion. I realised after his death that everyone he spoke to always came away feeling the same!
"Eddie was also quick to absorb information and to analyse it producing a clear blue print for the future. We were so fortunate to have him with us, albeit for such a short time.