New CEO appointed for The Book Trade Charity

Jonathan Nowell, Chair of The Book Trade Charity (BTBS) recently announced the appointment (from 1st March 2021) of Vic (Victoria) Perry as the new Chief Executive of the charity. David Hicks, who has been in post for 27 years will retire on 31st March.

Vic Perry is currently consulting for the charity Home-Start UK supporting their unprecedented corporate partnership with John Lewis and Waitrose. Previously, she was Global Social Impact Manager for Jaguar Land Rover delivering their charitable partnerships and Chief Executive of EIL UK, a youth education charity which is part of a Federation afforded UN Peace Messenger status. She brings particular experience of making charities and partnerships relevant for the modern age and has leadership and income generation experience across a diverse range of organisations, including an academic publishing house and the British Red Cross.

Exciting times are ahead for BTBS, which traces its roots back to 1837 with some name changes and mergers with other charities along the way; most recently with Matthew Hodder Charitable Trust in 2015 and Bookbinders Charitable Society in 2016. The Book Trade Charity has proved itself dynamic and forward-looking and Vic is looking forward to building on the accomplishments while taking its work to a new level.

Since 1994 when David Hicks started in the new role, the number of grant beneficiaries has increased from just 9, to 212 in 2020 – including 95 grants given under the Covid-19 Booksellers Hardship Fund using funds raised by the Crowdfunder started as a response to the pandemic, with £180,000 being given in grants to date. The Fund is still open and will welcome new applications from booksellers and staff suffering the impact of the latest lockdown.

The housing provision has seen investment of over £5m, with accommodation upgraded and increased from 32 bungalows and flats at The Retreat, with 22 flats inherited from BCS, to 77 units – including the new development in Whetstone, London N20 primarily aimed at young entrants to the trade, focusing on promoting diversity and inclusivity. This development is nearing completion and the Charity will start advertising for new tenants within the next few weeks.

Vic said, “I am delighted to be joining BTBS and excited about the opportunity to work with the team and trustees to help shape its future. This is a once in a generation chance, in the wake of the global health emergency, to support underrepresented people to enter the industry and to help our Book Trade communities and individuals through the pandemic and beyond.”

Jonathan Nowell said: “On behalf of the President and Trustees, I am delighted to welcome Vic to The Book Trade Charity at a time of renewed hope and real need. David will be a hard act to follow, but the Trustees have been diligent to ensure we have a successor in Vic who will bring the dynamic growth we need to meet the future needs of the UK Book Trade. Supported in recent years by an outstanding team, David has done a magnificent job, and the Trustees will make sure that we and the trade have the opportunity to recognise his considerable achievements over the coming months.”