Changes at the top for the RHS

Jill Cherry has unexpectedly been made redundant as RHS director of gardens and estates.

Jim Gardiner is taking a new role as director of horticulture alongside his work as chief curator of the society.

Gardiner will join the RHS six-member senior management team alongside Gordon Seabright, marketing director Dan Wolfe, science and learning director Simon Thornton-Wood, shows head Stephen Bennett and finance director Sarah Buxton.

Wolfe said the redundancy was a separate exercise to the recent RHS redundancies, which saw 93 people leave the society in late 2009.He explained that the changes came about because of a "very strong feeling in the business".

He said Cherry did not have another role to go to at present, but added: "We were looking at the structure of the senior management team in the business. The new structure includes the director of horticulture but not the director of gardens role."

Wolfe said Gardiner had a new ambassadorial role and will also oversee trials and trial committee relationships, a role previously taken by Thornton-Wood. Leigh Hunt will continue in his relatively new role as horticultural trials and relations head.

Wolfe added that the new RHS director-general role, replacing Inga Grimsey who left last year, will be filled by June. The RHS originally headhunted Cherry from Van Dusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, Canada, in 2006.

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