The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) is today announcing the appointment of a new interim leadership team. 


Trustees are pleased to announce that Jonathan Smith has been appointed as CEO and Les Etheridge as Trustee and National Chair, both on an interim basis.  

Les Etheridge Braunston Historic 2016 jr (96)
Les Etheridge

Both have had long-standing involvement with IWA and bring extensive experience from the private sector. 

Jonathan Smith, CEO 

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Jonathan Smith has been involved with IWA for over 30 years.  

He has been a director of WRG since 1991 and currently holds the position of Deputy Chair. 

Jonathan was a Trustee from 1991 to 2000, during which he held numerous roles, including Chair of IWA Sales and Promotions, Deputy Chair of Festivals and a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.  

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He became a Trustee again in 2016-2018 and served as National Treasurer. 

In his professional career, Jonathan co-owned a business that managed healthcare projects in developing countries. After retiring last year, Jonathan has continued to act as an advisor to the company on a part-time basis.

Les Etheridge, Trustee & National Chair  

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Les Etheridge has been actively involved with IWA for almost 20 years. He first became a Trustee in September 2006 and became a Deputy National Chair in 2007, National Treasurer in 2008 and National Chair from 2012-2017. He retired as a Trustee in 2018 after serving the maximum continuous term of 12 years. Les is currently Chair of his local branch, IWA Kent & East Sussex. 

Les Etheridge IWA Ilkeston 2017 jr (56)
Les Etheridge

Now retired, Les’ professional career as an actuary spanned over 40 years in insurance. This included the role of Chief Executive at Reliance Mutual Insurance Society Limited and Non-Executive Director at Abbey Life Assurance Company Limited.  

Trustees said: “We are delighted that Jonathan and Les will be taking these interim roles with IWA. Both have extensive experience from within IWA and the wider private sector and bring great leadership expertise at an important stage in the organisation’s journey.” 

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Jonathan and Les succeed Phil Hornsey as CEO and Paul Rodgers as National Chair, who both stepped down from their roles recently.  

At a Board meeting on Monday, May 2nd, Trustees thanked Paul Rodgers for his work as National Chair over the last two and a half years. 

Trustees commented: “Paul’s ideas and visionary thinking have helped to shape the way forward for IWA, and we thank him for his commitment to the organisation. We are pleased to say that Paul will continue to be involved with IWA moving forward.” 

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