For those of you who believe that staffing at the Petrol Retailers’ Association has been a bit thin on the ground of late, some good news. Step forward Richard Chadderton, the new head of petrol (since July), a full-time, permanent position, realigned from the scope of its previous incumbent to be totally dedicated to the PRA, without obligations for commercial activities elsewhere within its parent body, the RMIF.

His appointment will also provide much-needed support for the ubiquitous PRA chairman Brian Madderson, officially a consultant, who has long seemed like something of a one-man band campaigning on behalf of independent fuel retailers. Madderson’s well-publicised lobbying of government departments has served as a successful recruiting sergeant for PRA membership, encouraging most of the biggest independent retailers to sign up in recent years. Now Chadderton will also be engaged in encouraging more retailers to see the merits of joining an organisation that, as stated on its website, aims to help retailers run their businesses "legally and more profitably, and to adapt to new challenges in the market through advice and support, representation and high-profile campaigning".

Chadderton comes with great credentials for the role, since he has spent most of his working life in the fuel industry, and describes himself as a "petrol head" rather appropriate for his new job title. He joined the fuel industry in the mid-’70s, working for an independent retailer the Alan Pond Group. He then had a spell selling cars before joining Elf Oil tempted by the company’s sponsorship of Formula 1 at the time where he stayed for eight years, covering many roles including regional manager and network development manager. Next stop was the Rank Organisation, working within its motorway services operation, which was then sold to Granada. During this period he came into contact with Fina and joined the company in 1991, mainly in the network development/property side of the business, but also including a spell in international aviation. "However, the smell of petrol dragged me back to retail activity," says Chadderton. "But eventually Fina got swallowed up by Total in 1999, and I became property services manager."

In 2008 he looked after Total’s activities in Jersey and Guernsey, and returned to the mainland as distribution manager for Total. He stayed with the business during the transitionary period once Total was bought by Rontec and took redundancy last November.

"That all adds up to about 30 years’ experience in the business," says Chadderton. "But after two to three months, I realised I wasn’t ready for retirement. The PRA opportunity just seems a logical fit. Since most of my experience is in retail, I think I can bring something to the party. I will be attending all the forthcoming PRA Forums and Roadshows between now and the end of the year to get to better understand the challenges that independent retailers face day-to-day and to see what the PRA can do to help to overcome them. The next Roadshow is in Bristol on September 11 and is free to attend. I’m looking forward to meeting as many independent retailers as possible and would urge those who can make it to join us. "