Third generation to steer park group’s growth

On the move (left to right) are Godfrey Brown, Ben Kent, Paul Taylor and Malcolm Kent

On the move at Keat Farm are (left to right) Godfrey Brown, Ben Kent, Paul Taylor and Malcolm Kent

One of South East England’s longest-established holiday and residential park groups, Kent-based Keat Farm, has announced a re-shaping of its board of directors.

In a move which will hand greater control to younger members of the family-owned company, the company’s managing director Malcolm Kent will now become its chairman.

Malcolm has been Keat Farm’s MD since 1986, and says his sideways move will enable the other directors to act with greater autonomy as the firm continues to grow.

Taking on the role of MD will be Malcolm’s son Ben who has served on the board since 2011 with responsibilities for sales and marketing across all of Keat Farm’s nine SE England parks.

Supporting Ben when the changes take place on 01 August will be newly appointed board director Paul Taylor who joined the company in 2003 in a sales management capacity.

Other directors of the group – which currently comprises five residential parks and four holiday parks – are Malcolm’s wife Janet, their daughter Justine Beba and son-in-law Wayne Beba.

Retiring from the board will be Godfrey Brown who has been with the company for 30 years, and who was made a director in 1993.

Paying tribute to Godfrey, Malcolm said that he and the board were extremely grateful for the pivotal role he has played in Keat Farm’s success story:

“We are a family business, and Godfrey has provided us with magnificent support over the years – and to the point where, in our eyes, he actually has become a family member,” said Malcolm.

“For my part, I couldn’t imagine turning my back entirely on a business I have enjoyed being part of for so many years, but there comes a time when the new generation must take the reins.

“It’s a much changed industry since I first entered it in 1966, but I think we can be proud of the fact that parks have moved with the times and continue to meet customer expectations,” he said.

Keat Farm first started welcoming holidaymakers in the 1950s when Malcolm’s father, Ron, turned over part of his three-acre smallholding into a camping field.

After taking over the running of the business in 1986, Malcolm gradually grew Keat Farm through the acquisition of other parks in the region, and taking on major holiday home distributorships.

Malcolm was chairman of the NCC from 1996 till 1998, and more recently completed two years as national chairman of the British Holiday & Home Parks Association.

The position of chairman of the BH&HPA was also held by his father from 1975-1977 when the organisation was known as the National Federation of Site Operators.