Sir Bernard Ingham has retired as President of the bfa after nearly 20 years in the role. Announced at the bfa’s Annual Conference at the end of June, Sir Bernard confirmed that the conference would be his last official engagement as President. Aptly, the event took place on his 80th birthday and reported on the launch of the bfa’s Franchisee Membership – a project Sir Bernard had personally been involved in and had driven since its inception five years previously.
Following a standing ovation he delivered a typically entertaining and rousing speech, full of his distinctive wit, humour and grace on the advances that have been made during his tenure and on the future of franchising, which he described as being “on the cusp of something big”.
The bfa’s Director General, Brian Smart, gave a moving speech in tribute, celebrating and reminiscing on the effect of Sir Bernard on his life over the best part of two decades, both personally and professionally, as well as his significant impact on the bfa and wider franchising community.
Sir Bernard, with characteristic humility, wanted to focus on the exciting steps ahead for franchising when asked to comment. He said: "In my 18 years as president I have seen the bfa grow greatly in strength and confidence.
“The latest development is the clearest possible example of this – the appointment of franchisees to take part in the governance of the bfa and the creation of the opportunity for them to elect their own representatives on the board.
“I do not think this would have been possible 18 years ago, if indeed anyone had then thought of moving in that direction. Now it means that the bfa is manifestly engaging with the franchising community as a whole - franchisors, associates in a variety of professions and services and franchisees.
“This is truly a demonstration of franchising's maturity. I am confident that this collaborative approach to the development of franchising will bring greater recognition and success. I am proud to have had a hand in it."
Fortunately, this isn’t the last time we’ll be seeing Sir Bernard’s name in conjunction with the bfa. In a gesture showing just how supportive he is of the industry, Sir Bernard has agreed to become patron to the Franchise Trust, a charitable organisation being set up by the bfa to support worthy causes and individuals in franchising.
Brian, who has been Director General of the bfa throughout Sir Bernard’s Presidency, said: “We’re all very sorry to see Sir Bernard retire. He’s been one of franchising’s greatest ambassadors for many years and has had a major impact on the industry, the bfa and those of us lucky enough to have worked closely with him. I’m delighted he’s agreed to be patron of the Franchise Trust, guaranteeing his name remains synonymous with ethical franchising which he’s supported so steadfastly for so long. It’s a fitting tribute to everything he’s helped us achieve.”