Richard Burnett 2022

Former RHA CEO Richard Burnett has been appointed MD of events logistics specialist KB Event. A keen music fan, Burnett said he was “delighted” to be joining the family firm as the entertainment and events sector begins a rapid recovery after the Covid pandemic.

Current MD and co-founder Stuart McPherson will become CEO of the firm which is based in Pinxton, Nottinghamshire and also has sites in Beverley, London and the Republic of Ireland. It handles UK and European tours for major artists including Ed Sheeran and Craig David as well as large-scale events such as COP26 in Glasgow.

“It is a fascinating and complex business,” said Burnett. “Few people who go to shows understand what goes on behind the scenes. The challenge of coming back from Covid is going to create some great opportunities.”

The KB fleet shrank to 50 trucks in the pandemic and kept going by diversifying into general haulage and traction-only work but is now growing again along with the events sector.

“They are in a strong position to start bouncing back and dealing with Brexit,” said Burnett. “They have based some of the fleet in Ireland to deal with the withdrawal of EU cabotage for UK registered vehicles.

“Stuart has done a fantastic job of preparing the business for when events started to come back.”

KB already has ordered a number of new top-spec trucks and trailers that will take the fleet back to 80 vehicles. Over 40 of these will be based in Ireland from where they have unrestricted access to the rest of the EU.

“Brexit and Covid had such a dramatic impact that there is not enough capacity,” said Burnett. “It is incredibly specialised so you can’t just switch it on. The barrier is entry is very high and there isn’t enough fleet in the market. You need low-ride kit to get into places like Wembley Arena and there are supply chain issues with trailers and other equipment.”

Burnett joined the RHA in 2014 from his role as MD of temperature-controlled haulier Samworth Brothers and quit in December last year, reportedly after a fall out with transport secretary Grant Shapps MP.

Welcoming Burnett to the company, McPherson said: “During Richard’s 37-year career in logistics, he has worked for many well-known businesses including TDG, Wincanton, Hays and Samworth Brothers, looking after some of the most prestigious high street names such as Heinz, GSK, Tesco and Adidas.

“During his seven-year tenure with the RHA he transformed the organisation, working tirelessly for the logistics industry, growing the RHA’s profile and membership significantly.”