Alistair Rowland of Midcounties Co-operative is the new chairman of travel association Abta.

Rowland, chief retail officer for specialist business at Midcounties, was unanimously elected to succeed Noel Josephides as chairman by the Abta board.

He has served on the association’s board since 2012, representing retail members with a turnover of more than £20 million a year.

Josephides stood down following six years in the role, having become the first chairman to serve three terms after the rules were changed in 2015.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “Alistair has served with distinction on our board of directors.

“His expertise, professionalism and enthusiasm will be invaluable in our ongoing work to support our members and their customers as well as helping to deliver Abta’s business plan.”

Tanzer added: “I would like to extend our warmest thanks to Noel Josephides for the exceptional contribution he has made to the association throughout his years in office.”

Rowland said he looked forward “immensely” to taking the role.

He said: “Now more than ever it is vital we have an association that represents the voice of the industry, supports the needs of its members and helps their customers to feel confident in travelling.

“The association made strong progress under Mark Tanzer and the chairmanship of my predecessor and I’m keen to build on that good work.”

Board members Daniele Broccoli of Britaly Travel and Jamie Gardiner of Diverse World were both re-elected.

But Richard Downs, chief executive of Iglu.com, stepped down having completed his term of office on the board.

Rowland becomes the first Abta chairman to be chosen by the board following a rule change in 2015.

Previous Abta chairman were elected by a ballot of the members after the role was changed from that of president in 2009.