Former Kings Seeds and Sakata representative Riggs was voted in without opposition to the role at the BPOA AGM on 7 February. He was previously the chairman of the marketing committee, and this role will now be taken on by Greg Hill from Chichester-based grower Hill Brothers.
BPOA membership increased by 24 per cent in 2011, and the membership is now the highest it has ever been, according to Riggs.
Many new members have joined to take advantage of the Home Grown scheme, which is free for BPOA members to use, and £100 a year for non-members.
Following successful trials in garden centres, Home Grown will enter its retail phase this year.
The AGM took place at the start of a two-day conference, which included marketing and technical seminars, covering issues such as the impatiens downy mildew outbreak, the state of the garden centre market and water and energy efficiency.
Former Garden Centre Association chairman and Squires managing director Dennis Espley was the guest speaker at the Chairman’s Dinner.
At the dinner, awards presented included the Trumpet Blower award, which went to nursery owner Derek Smith, the Alan Hendy award, won by Blue Ribbon Plants sales manager Philip Sanders, and the Bright Spark award, presented to Beekenkamp UK and Ireland sales manager Sirekit Mol.
A special award was also given to out-going chairman Sarah Fairhurst.