Battle Abbey manager to be new CEO of Hastings Pier

Jo Stewart. Picture by Jim Holden. SUS-160911-165953001Jo Stewart. Picture by Jim Holden. SUS-160911-165953001
Jo Stewart. Picture by Jim Holden. SUS-160911-165953001
The property manager at Battle Abbey is leaving after four years in the role to become the new chief executive officer of Hastings Pier.

Jo Stewart, who works for English Heritage managing the 1066 Battle of Hastings, Abbey and Battlefield estate, will take over from Simon Opie, who left earlier this year.

Jo, who has managed Battle Abbey for the last four years, will leave English Heritage at the end of the month and take over at Hastings Pier in the New Year.

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Jo said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have this opportunity to work with Hastings Pier.

“I watched its rebirth with enormous interest over the past few years and now to be able to make my own contribution to its success is enormously exciting.”

2016 has been a big year for Battle Abbey, and Jo’s departure will come just weeks after the 950th anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Hastings.

Jo said: “We have had such a good year and it was good to be able to leave on a high, but quite said to leave on a high.”

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She added: “I’m passionate about the Battle Abbey site - my team are lovely, and the people of Battle. And as much as the opportunity is amazing, it’s been a difficult decision for me to go. But I’m very, very excited about the pier and what I can do for it.”

Neil McCollum, historic properties director for English Heritage in the South East said: “Jo has been a great asset in the four years she’s been with us, notably delivering the successful launch of our new visitor experience this summer and a fantastic 950th anniversary Battle of Hastings reenactment.

“She will be sorely missed when she leaves next month, but we wish her all the best in her exciting new role with Hastings Pier, where she will no doubt bring her passion, energy and creativity to great effect. We will begin recruitment for her replacement in the new year, and in the meantime the Abbey and battlefield site will be ably looked after by our existing team.”

Pier chairman, John Lovering, said: “Jo combines strong retail experience and keen, up to the minute knowledge of running a big, busy local attraction from her four years at Battle.

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“She will lead us through into the next decade as a profitable, successful and entertaining venue for locals and visitors alike.”

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