Royal Ulster Agricultural Society Appointments Cultivate a Bright Future

5th Mar 2024

The Royal Ulster Agricultural Society has recently announced two appointments in a milestone year for the organisation. In recent weeks, Theresa Morrissey was confirmed as Group Executive Director of the Society and Rhonda Geary as Group Operations Director.

Founded in 1854, the RUAS has been at the heart of rural life in Northern Ireland for 170 years. Organisers of the renowned Balmoral Show, Royal Ulster Winter Fair and Royal Ulster Premier Beef & Lamb Championships, the Society boasts an impressive membership of over 2,300 and is located at the Eikon Exhibition Centre in Lisburn.

These recent appointments come as the Society embarks on a strategic review to create a new five-year plan, which will set the ambitions for the Society’s future and determine how best to achieve them. The Society is embarking on this journey to ensure its future sustainability, clarity of purpose and direction, and enhance its reputation and relevance. 

Theresa Morrissey, Group Executive Director

Theresa Morrissey will lead the Society in strategic, governance and financial matters going forward. As a qualified accountant, Theresa has been an indispensable asset to the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society for the last 23 years. She has progressed through the Society’s ranks, being appointed Finance Director for the group in 2004 and adding the Commercial remit to her role in 2008. She has been responsible for overseeing the trading activities of the Society and was pivotal in the Society’s move from the King’s Hall Complex to Balmoral Park in 2012.

The development of the new venue, construction of the Eikon Exhibition Centre and adjacent event spaces has been one of the Society’s greatest commercial projects to date. As Northern Ireland’s largest events campus, this impressive evolution has enabled the Society to flourish and Theresa will continue to focus on the future of this promising venture in her new role.

Rhonda Geary, Group Operations Director

Rhonda first joined the RUAS shortly after her 21st birthday as a Management Trainee at the Society’s offices in the King’s Hall. Her passion, enthusiasm and leadership abilities saw her progress through the departments as she gained a wealth of knowledge and experience. In her previous post, Rhonda oversaw the logistics behind the Society’s three annual Shows and overcame many challenges through the years, ranging from the outbreak of Foot & Mouth in 2001 to the cancellation of the 2020 Balmoral Show due to COVID-19.

Her commitment to the local agri-food industry was recognised in 2018 as she was presented with the ‘Woman of Excellence in Agriculture’ accolade at the Farming Life Awards. Rhonda is also Secretary and Treasurer of the Northern Ireland Shows Association and a council member of the Association of Shows and Agricultural Organisations (ASAO).

RUAS President, Christine Adams commented, ‘We have been so fortunate to have these charismatic and passionate female leaders at the helm of our Society. As we embark on our new strategic plan, the Council felt that this new restructuring better reflects our commitment to continued improvements and the sustainability of the organisation. On behalf of the Society, I would like to congratulate both ladies on their appointments’.