Press Release – The Castle Climbing Centre
Managing the UK’s biggest and busiest climbing wall is one of the top jobs in the climbing industry, so when The Castle announced it was recruiting for a CEO, the news attracted a lot of attention. The current Managing Director, Audrey Seguy, was stepping down after ten years at the helm to start a new business (and life) in southern France. She leaves The Castle in a strong position with over 200,000 visits a year and plans underway for even more growth. The Castle is also one of the largest employers in the industry with over 70 employees on just one site. Characterized by a unique building (yes, it really looks like a castle!), The Castle recently celebrated twenty years and has just secured a further twenty year lease for the building.
The recruitment process took about three months and involved a number of stages and tests to progressively narrow down the field. We are pleased to announce that we were successful in finding a candidate and are delighted to announce that Duncan Howard will be the new CEO. Duncan has been climbing for over 20 years, much of this at The Castle. He comes from a housing background with over 25 years professional experience in housing associations. His last position was with the Southern Housing Group, a large housing association with 28,000 homes in their portfolio. As Regional Director (London), Duncan was directly responsible for 7,000 homes and has developed many skills which we are confident will transfer well into indoor climbing.
“I am very excited about this new role. The Castle is an outstanding facility with a really professional and passionate staff team. This once in a lifetime opportunity was too good to miss,” says Duncan about why he went for the role. As a local climber who has been a Castle customer for nearly twenty years, Duncan has seen The Castle change and is looking forward to presiding over another period of growth and prosperity. “The Castle has grown significantly over the past five years and we see this continuing for many years to come. I hope that my experience of successfully leading large teams through periods of significant growth and change… will help me make sure that the Castle continues to develop, pushing its very high standards even higher while maintain the variety and broad appeal that it’s loved for.”
Duncan will be breathing new life into The Castle’s sustainability policy- a journey that we embarked on six years ago. As we evaluate the effects of our actions in the first five year action plan, Duncan will be instrumental in leading the development and implementation of the second five year plan. “The team are committed to being as green as possible, but the building presents some challenges that will require significant investment. I really want to prove that businesses can be green and profitable.”
The Castle is using this opportunity to restructure its top management. Founder and outgoing CEO, Steve Taylor, will become the Chairman of the board of Directors. Audrey Seguy will remain involved as a non-Executive Director. The Castle also has two centre managers to oversee the day to day operations- Ben Levey and Efua Uiterwijk.
Climbing Business Journal is an independent news outlet dedicated to covering the indoor climbing industry. Here you will find the latest coverage of climbing industry news, gym developments, industry best practices, risk management, climbing competitions, youth coaching and routesetting. Have an article idea? CBJ loves to hear from readers like you!