Opening the Congress: HRH the Princess Royal attends the IHA event, held last week.

IHA Centenary Congress hailed as 'a triumph'

Published:  25 September, 2009

LONDON: The International Hardware Association Centenary Congress was hailed as a 'triumph', according to delegates. From the opening and the visit by congress patron HRH the Princess Royal, through to its presentations by Steamer Trading, HSBC, Greenpeace, Calor Gas, the BRC, Toolbank, Towergate entrepreneur Peter Cullum, the event played host to over 300 delegates.

Events took place at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre, the Tower of London and Banqueting House.

Speakers included Mark Berrisford-Smith of HSBC. He gave an update on the state of the world economy, while Stephen Robertson of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) examined the State of the UK Retail Industry_- its the opportunities and threats and what the British Retail Consortium is doing on the political front and with government lobbying to ensure that the retail environment is kept as friendly as possible for hard-pressed retailers.

Peter Cullum of Towergate Risk Solutions' Passion and Power - an Entrepreneur's Success Story_took delegates on a tour of how he progressed from being the youngest person to pass the Chartered Insurance Institute fellowship examinations to being named Management Today's Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of Science in Entrepreneurship by Cass Business School. Following this he provided £10m for Cass Business School to form a new Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Xavier Durieu of Eurocommerce provided a study of how the markets in Europe were faring.

Matt Sexton of B&Q, the world's third largest DIY retailer, explained some of the company's strategies for maintaining it status and market share and continuing its growth in tough trading conditions.

Belinda Fletcher of Greenpeace examined how companies respond to the threats and opportunities posed by 'green'.

Margaret Gooch, head of human resources at Calor Gas, discussed the initiatives she set up to reduce employee turnover and improve the quality of new recruits into the organisation. She also discussed how to improve employee engagement, what this for a business and the structured process Calor has adopted to manage its talent pool.

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