RHS Recruits Three New Members of its Leadership Team

Monday 6 January 2014

UK’s gardening charity recruits high profile individuals to deliver exceptional customer service, drive future growth and safeguard UK horticulture

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has recruited David Morley as its Director of Gardens, Shows & Retail, Dr Tim Upson as Director of Horticulture and Sandra Parsons as Head of HR to complete the recently restructured RHS Leadership Team, which is headed up by RHS Director General Sue Biggs.

Sue Biggs says, “It’s great that the appeal of the RHS and the exciting projects we’re working on has resulted in such swift recruitment of three very talented individuals. I’m thrilled to welcome the newest members of the Leadership Team, who will play an integral part in leading the organisation and ensuring we deliver all our plans to transform people’s lives through horticulture. ”

Sandra Parsons will become the RHS Head of HR and joins from The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), which has over 300 employees in offices across Europe and one in Hong Kong. Before that she worked in a variety of organisations including Channel Four Television, Coca Cola and Starbucks Coffee Company. Under Sandra’s leadership at ICE new talent identification and management process helped retain and develop high potential employees; she also led the successful creation of a performance culture. Sandra has a Masters degree in Human Resources Management and is also a Chartered Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. She was also recently a key note speaker at a major Reward Conference.

David Morley will take on the new role of RHS Director of Gardens, Shows & Retail, to ensure members and customers receive a consistently high level of world class horticulture, excellent service delivery and inspiring product innovation wherever they are in the world of the RHS. He joins the charity from the John Lewis Partnership where he was General Manager at Peter Jones, Sloane Square in London for many years, and more recently as General Manager at the Group’s flagship Oxford Street store. With many years of experience in leadership roles at John Lewis, he will bring with him excellent commercial and customer experience skills, as well as a deeply held commitment to the impressive service delivery for which John Lewis is renowned. David has served as a volunteer on the RHS Commercial Board providing advisory support to RHS retail, catering and commercial activities.

Dr Tim Upson will be joining the RHS as Director of Horticulture from Cambridge University Botanic Garden where he is Curator and Deputy Director. Tim will be responsible for ensuring the highest standards of horticulture are always to be seen across all RHS work, in gardens, shows and elsewhere. His other responsibilities will include the RHS Trials/AGM programme, trade relationships, bursaries & expeditions and Horticulture Matters, the industry campaign to make Horticulture a career to be proud of. Both a horticulturist and a scientist, Tim is currently responsible for running the 40 acre Cambridge University Botanic Garden, which has a collection of 8,000 plants. A graduate of the Kew Diploma course, he later undertook an MSc and then PhD in Plant Systematics at the University of Reading. Tim has a special interest in the Lamiaceae and particularly the genera Rosmarinus and Lavandula, including their horticultural taxonomy. Tim serves on the Board of Directors of PlantNetwork, as vice-chairman on the Plant Conservation Committee of Plant Heritage and is an editorial consultant for The Plantsman. He has known our Head of Science Dr Alistair Griffiths, and our current Director of Horticulture, Jim Gardiner (who will move to become Executive Vice President Horticulture on Tim’s appointment) for many years, so this is a truly exciting combination of horticultural talent.

Sandra Parsons will join the RHS today (6 January 2014) and Dr Tim Upson and David Morley will both join the RHS in March 2014.


Notes to editors

For more information, please contact the RHS Press Office on 0207 821 3043 or email pressoffice@rhs.org.uk

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity.

Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 200 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join  

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262


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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262