The European Pest Management Industry Association (CEPA) unanimously voted at its General Assembly held in Budapest, Hungary, on June 15, to appoint Roland Higgins as its new director general. Higgins takes over with immediate effect from Rob Fryatt, who has held this position for the last four years.
Higgins is ideally suited to hold this pan-European role as he has already had several years experience working within the trade association sector, having been chairman, and now secretary general, of the European Modern Restaurant Association. In addition, he is an accomplished linguist and speaks five languages (English, Dutch, French, German and Spanish) which will be a great asset communicating with the 19 national associations and 12 international members who are currently members of CEPA. Before this, Higgins was group marketing and communications director for the Quick Restaurants Group.
Born in England and a holder of a British passport (as Roland’s father was English and his mother was Belgian) he has spent virtually all his life in Belgium. Higgins gained an MA from the University of Antwerp in 1968 having studied modern languages, including a teacher training programme as well as specialist training in conference interpretation. This led to a stint as a conference interpreter for the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Italy and teaching Spanish in evening classes to adult students in Belgium. His marketing skills were further refined by attending the Advanced Marketing seminar at Ashridge Business School in the UK in 1991.
The pest control industry may be new to Higgins, but he describes himself as a quick learner. However, he is very familiar with the Brussels-based EU community which matches CEPA’s strategic objective to reach-out and engage with the relevant EU institutions and stakeholders.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Higgins said: “I’m keen to continue to raise the CEPA profile with all those EU organisations in Brussels who impact upon the pest control industry. Whilst at the same time creating added value for the industry and introducing new communication tools for all CEPA members.”
Higgins will be office-based in Brussels and will be supported by industry strategist Michel Tulkens with administrative assistance from Manfred Fickers.
In his leisure time, Higgins has a passion for roaming around the globe – in fact his Tripadvisor travel map on Facebook lists 309 cities visited in 52 countries. A particular favorite pursuit is hiking along the coastline in the South of France.