He will be responsible for leading the RHS research programme on plant diseases, developing collaborations with external research organisations, and providing advice and technical information to RHS members and the public.
Also joining the plant health team as a plant pathologist is scientist Dr Rebekah Robinson, who recently completed a PhD at Rothamsted Research and has undertaken research placements at leading organisations including Kew's Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst and the John Innes Centre, Norwich.
Cromey said: "I’m excited to work in the diverse garden environment that first attracted me to the field of plant pathology. The RHS, as the world’s foremost gardening charity, is the perfect place in which to make a contribution to the health of plants in gardens."Robinson said: "The RHS plays a key role in ensuring the continued growth and success of UK horticulture and I am really excited to now be contributing to this."
RHS head of plant health Gerard Clover, who also joined from the New Zealand plant health service, said: "These appointments underline the Society’s commitment to ensure UK gardeners receive the best advice and guidance from leading scientists.
"I’m delighted to have Matthew and Rebekah with us and look forward to working with them and harnessing their experience, depth of knowledge and cutting-edge skills, to help gardeners better understand and combat plant diseases.
"No other charity invests as much of its resources as we do in the scientific study of horticulture, and this investment in incredibly talented scientists will ensure we remain at the forefront of horticultural science."