The BII (British Institute of Innkeeping) has recruited a new chief executive to take over from Peter Thomas, who will stand down at the end of March next year, writes Rob Willock. Tim Hulme, currently deputy principal at Ealing, Hammersmith & West London College, will take up his new role on 7 January with a remit to grow membership and drive a quality agenda. Hulme said that he would focus the BII on developing the next generation of pub operators. “I surveyed 500 degree-level students, and none of them had heard of the BII. I want it to be a recognised professional body providing a skills escalator and career pathway.” He added that he had never encountered an industry with so many trade bodies and different agendas, but pledged to build partnerships and work towards common goals. Hulme, 50, left school at 15 and took an engineering apprenticeship before careers in construction and the pharmaceutical sector, and then moving into education. He said: “I’m commercially driven, with a track record of pushing multi-disciplinary organisations through periods of change. I want to get the institute back on track.” Thomas will coordinate a three-month handover to Hulme, introducing him to the pub trade. “We’ll get him where he needs to be with a full induction,” said Thomas. The BII’s shortlist featured candidates with pub trade backgrounds and others with education backgrounds, but Thomas decided: “It’s harder for a trade person to learn qualifications than the other way round.” The chairmanship of the BII is still up for discussion, according to Thomas, who added: “We have a council meeting on 5 February to resolve that.” Bernard Brindley currently serves as chairman, following Martin Grant’s departure in May; Thomas himself has been mooted as a candidate. He said: “Financially we’re OK. We’ll end up with a loss this year, and next year’s budget is neutral, because of investments in IT and the sales force. The China project has been stopped.” The BII has given final warnings to three pubcos to stop using the BII logo on their letterheads or face litigation. Thomas said: “They can’t claim that if their membership has lapsed.”