RUAS new chief executive named and set to take up role before Balmoral

The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) has named its new chief executive. It’s expected Alan Crowe will take up the role before May – meaning he will lead the organisation through its 150th Balmoral Show.

Crowe was previously the chief executive for Northern Ireland Co-Ownership Housing and its subsidiary Own-Co, a regional public body under the Department for Communities and Local Government, for almost 14 years.

As a chartered director, he holds multiple awards and fellowships with several professional bodies and has worked extensively with regional/central and local government.

Rural connections

Crowe and family currently live in Portstewart; however, his wife, a farmer’s daughter, is the co-owner of a farm in Co.Tyrone.

He spent several years working for the National Farmers’ Union and Mutual in the past, holding very fond memories of this time in his career.

Following the appointment, Crowe said: “I am delighted and excited to be returning to work within the agricultural sector and look forward to working with the team at the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society.”

The announcement begins a period of gradual transfer of responsibilities from current chief executive Colin McDonald and it is expected that Alan will take up that position in time for the 150th Balmoral Show in May this year.


The transition period is likely to take some time as RUAS has several large projects underway.

Progress at the old Balmoral site is also well underway – the housing development is around 30% completed and is expected to be finished by 2024.

Meanwhile, the pre-planning consultation for proposals to transform the King’s Hall into a health hub has ended and the development is ready to move on to the planning application stage.

Back at the new site, the finishing touches should be underway on a new £3 million exhibition space, set to make Balmoral Park Ireland’s largest indoor show space.

Speaking to AgriLand ahead of the Winter Fair, McDonald joked that while he was leaving the role he wouldn’t be a stranger to the showgrounds.

He said he would retain his RUAS membership, adding: “I hope I’ll have a job to do at the 2019 show – something like cleaning the cattle stalls – or manning the membership stand.”