The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

BA Restructures Leadership Team

The BA has announced it is restructuring its senior leadership team from 10th April 2018, with Meryl Halls promoted to the newly created role of Managing Director, Tim Godfray becoming Executive Chair of the BA Group, and Alan Staton promoted to Director of Strategy & Communication.

Leading the BA across the UK & Ireland from April, Meryl Halls is currently Head of Membership Services, playing a key role in the senior management team.

Meryl Halls has been a major driver in improving liaison between the BA and its members, and has worked across all of the BA’s campaign work, including Books Are My Bag, Independent Bookshop Week, the Independent Booksellers Forum, and IndieBound, Halls also works closely with colleagues across the BA Group on policy and communications work. 

In her current role, she has overseen the stabilisation of independent bookshop membership numbers in 2017, and developed commercial affinity deals for indie members, has enhanced representation and service delivery for Irish BA members, and is Vice Chair of the Independent Retailers Confederation.

Meryl Halls said: “The great privilege of my career at the BA has been working with booksellers from all walks of life, and I look forward to continuing to represent and promote their interests over the coming years as MD.  Taking on the job of representing BA members to the trade, the government and the wider book-loving community at this juncture, when indie numbers are rallying and the bookselling community robust, is exciting.  There is still a lot to do – operating a high street business is challenging in the best of times, and we are not, I fear, in the best of times.   What the BA will continue to do is shine a light on the essential work done by booksellers across the UK and Ireland and to press local and national government to recognise the contribution bookshops make to the social, cultural and economic fabric of the country."

Tim Godfray, CEO at the BA for over 30 years, will become Executive Chair of the BA Group, overseeing the wider BA Group spanning the BA, Batch and National Book Tokens, and stepping back from the day-to-day management of projects. Having been appointed as CEO at the BA in 1984, Godfray is also Director of Book Tokens and Batch, a Trustee of World Book Day and current Vice Chairman, a member of the Executive Board of the European and International Booksellers Federation, and on the Policy Board of The British Retail Consortium.

Tim Godfray commented: “The BA Board, the BA’s Executive Directors and I are all delighted about these changes.  Meryl and Alan have worked tireless for the BA over many years and it is really heartening to see their commitment and dedication rewarded.”

Alan Staton, currently Head of Marketing & Communications, will become Director of Strategy & Communications at the BA. Having worked at the BA for 13 years, and previously Marketing Manager at Bertram Books (now Connect Books), Alan will lead on strategy and policy agendas, working on publisher representation and collaborations, trade partnerships, BA special interest groups, and will work closely with Halls and a yet-to-be-appointed Head of Campaigns on the consolidation, development and re-focusing of BA campaign work.  Staton will retain responsibilities for the BA and Academic Conferences and will take on the Irish and Scottish events.

Alan Staton added: “I’m delighted to be stepping up to this new position. I’m very proud to have been involved in new campaigns such as Books Are My Bag including the Readers Awards, as well the continued success and development of World Book Day. In recent years the BA has found its voice, on behalf of booksellers, beyond the trade and traditional lobbying; creating successful messages to consumers and the media championing the vitality and importance of high street and campus bookshops. I look forward to continuing that work and developing new strategies for promoting bookselling and booksellers”

Rosamund de la Hey, President of the BA, commented: “It is a great testament to the strength of the BA as an organisation that these changes represent both continuity and innovation.  Meryl has, for many years, been a driving force for the voice of booksellers in all parts of the market, enabling booksellers to connect with each other, constantly finding ways to push their businesses forward in a time of such rapid change. And Alan’s clear thinking and calm vision can only benefit booksellers further in this new role.  We are very fortunate to be able to retain the wise counsel of Tim in his new role of Executive Chair.”