BWF announces changes at the top as it renews focus on Building it Better with Wood

2 July 2018

Iain McIlwee is to stand down as Chief Executive of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) after almost seven years.  Iain has worked closely with the board on a succession plan and the BWF is pleased to announce that Helen Hewitt has been appointed Acting CEO with immediate effect. 

Helen joined the BWF as Membership Director and Wood Window Alliance Lead in November 2017 and has already made a significant impact in many areas of the business especially, in helping to improve processes and engagement with members as well as supporting the Build it Better with Wood values of the organisation.
Iain will continue to work alongside Helen at the BWF until the end of September, when he leaves to take up a new role as chief executive of FIS, Finishes & Interiors Sectors Limited, the trade body which represents the fit-out sector. 
BWF president Sean Parnaby said: “Over the last 7 years Iain has contributed to BWF’s step change in profile and activity and helped to ensure we genuinely are one of the outstanding performing trade associations in the UK.  He leaves at the end of September with our gratitude and blessing - we look forward to working with him in his new role, if I know Iain he won’t be a stranger!  Iain has been working with the BWF Board on a succession plan and I am delighted to announce that Helen Hewitt will be appointed as the Acting CEO with immediate effect. Helen has a strong track record in developing training and membership organisations in the materials supply chain and her commercial experience will help in directing the BWF through the next period as it naturally evolves.  Helen joined the BWF as Membership Director and Wood Window Alliance Lead in November last year she has already made a significant impact in many areas of the business especially, in helping to improve our processes and engagement with our members. This is an exciting time for the BWF and we are looking forward to the future.” 

Iain added: “Leaving will be a wrench.  It has genuinely been a privilege to work in the woodworking sector, to represent the BWF Membership and lead what is an inspirational, enthusiastic and talented team. We have always enjoyed amazing support from the Board, Council and Membership and that has given us the confidence to press ahead and not to fear change or leave stones unturned.  Having worked closely with Helen for the past 8 months I am delighted to leave knowing that the BWF is not just in a safe pair of hands, but that the organisation will have a progressive, astute, strong and enthusiastic individual at the helm who understands and respects the values that unite our membership and industry.  These are, without doubt, exciting times for timber and the BWF and, in this time of change, one thing I am certain of is that I will continue to evangelise about the fantastic sustainable, healthy, effective and often stunning solutions that timber delivers and the importance of the craft at the heart of our manufacturing sector that is the woodworking industry”. 
Helen said: “I am absolutely delighted and honoured to be given the opportunity to spearhead the BWF through this next period of change. I am excited to start this new role and am looking forward to working closely with our Members, the Council and Executive in developing the strategy which will build on the new Build it Better with Wood campaign; launched at our most successful members day yet. I have been truly humbled by the passion and pride the industry has for the products it produces and the people it employs; the passion is infectious. It is a great time for all of us and I am fully committed to taking the BWF to the next level”.

The trade association for the woodworking and joinery manufacturing industry in the UK, the BWF provides a voice for the sector in the UK and influences the development of policy, regulations and standards.  
The BWF’s Build it Better with Wood campaign is designed to make wood the construction material of choice by celebrating its many benefits in the built environment and promoting the vast range of woodworking and joinery expertise available in the UK.
For more information on the British Woodworking Federation's Build it Better with Wood Campaign, please click here

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