HVCA chief executive Robert Higgs has announced his intention to retire from the Association after 38 years' service.

Higgs, who will celebrate his 65th birthday in May of next year, has been a member of the HVCA executive staff since 1973, and was appointed its chief executive in July 1989.

He maintains a continuing involvement in the affairs of GCI-UICP, the pan-European body for the sector – and, during the mid 1990s, produced a blueprint for its restructuring, in a successful attempt to render it more effective in representing industry interests.

He was also instrumental in the establishment of the International Alliance of Mechanical Contractors’ Associations (IAMCA), membership of which comprises HVCA and the Mechanical Contractors’ Associations of Australia, Canada and the USA.

A lifelong champion of quality standards, he counts among his most significant achievements the introduction of the independent inspection and assessment of the technical competence and commercial capability of all HVCA members.

Commenting on his impending retirement, Higgs said: “After nearly four decades with the Association – and more than two as chief executive – I am convinced that it is time for me to begin the next phase of my life, although I am aware that it will be hard to say goodbye to the many friends I have made amongst the HVCA’s members and staff.

“Not that my work is over quite yet,” he added. “There remain some seven months – and some key objectives to be achieved – before I finally take my leave.”

Robert Higgs was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2006 New Year Honours, in recognition of his services to the HVACR industry and to the environment.

A process is in hand to appoint his successor, and Higgs will stand down at the 2011 annual general meeting of the Association, which will take place in London on 21 July.