Director General to retire

It has been announced that Sue Biggs CBE will retire as Director General of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in June 2022. Over the past 11 years Sue has modernised and grown the RHS and certainly leaves a stronger charity with record membership numbers as well as being more financially robust.

Sue (pictured banner above) has nurtured the RHS into a more inclusive and broader based charity, championing many improvements not only to the gardens and flower shows run by the RHS but also with imaginative initiatives and educational programmes that have raised the standards of horticulture and science. These initiatives have helped inspire gardeners and young horticultural professionals alike.

There have certainly been many major developments under her leadership such as the opening of the RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford and the new nationally significant new Home of Gardening Science at RHS Garden Wisley. Sue has also been pivotal in creating and executing the Strategic Investment Programme across the gardens.

RHS President, Keith Weed, says: “We on the Society’s Council thank Sue for all her hard work, dedication and achievements during her time at the RHS.  The last 18 months has seen Sue lead the organisation at a difficult time during the pandemic where the organisation has continued to progress despite the many challenges.”

Sue joined the RHS after completing 25 years as Managing Director of Kuoni Travel and comments that with gardening and travel being her two greatest passions, she has felt extremely lucky that her career has been spent in the travel business followed by 11 years working in horticulture in the RHS: “I’m extremely proud of everything we have achieved over the last decade, and without Council, the Leadership Team and the incredible teams, volunteers and people across the RHS, as well as our generous supporters, it simply would not have been possible to make such deep rooted changes.  To leave this wonderful charity after the creation of the amazing RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford and after bringing our science work to the fore with Wisley Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science, makes me very happy to know that future generations will benefit from both for decades to come.”

Sue has chaired the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable since its inception and has constantly strived to raise awareness and help improve standards in horticulture  working with government and within the industry. In 2017 her work was recognised with a CBE for her services to horticulture and the environment.

We will be sorry to see Sue leave and wish her well for the future. It goes without saying her boundless energy and commitment to horticulture have been pivotal in highlighting all that is good in the industry as well as encouraging communities and young people to discover the health benefits and joys of gardening.

The recruitment process for a new Director General will now begin to enable a well-managed handover.