The CLA represents farmers, landowners and rural businesses across England and Wales, with the office in the south eastern region covering Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the Isle of Wight.
Mr Valenzia is joining the CLA after a successful career in the British Army as well as in the third sector. Latterly he has worked at a senior level in and with membership-based organisations supporting members and managing diverse teams spread across the UK and overseas.
A strong believer in the strength and efficacy of membership organisations such as the CLA, Mr Valenzia said:
“I am delighted to be joining the CLA at such an important time for the agricultural sector and wider rural industries.
“With continued political and economic uncertainty, having a strong CLA voice lobbying locally and nationally on the issues that really matter to rural businesses is more relevant than ever.
“I can’t wait to meet members to learn more about their wide range of businesses, as well as engaging with the wide spectrum of CLA stakeholders and partners.”
Mr Valenzia, who is a keen sportsman, including occasional game shooting and fishing, added:
“Over many years I have developed a love of the outdoors and the countryside and a respect for those who are its custodians.”
He is married to Joan, a physiotherapist, has three children, a degree and a strong interest in history, as well as in other cultures and beliefs, and describes himself as “a rusty Arabic speaker”.
Mr Valenzia is also a passionate fundraiser for various military and civilian charities, is a trustee of the Andover Foodbank and a keen Manchester United fan.
CLA Director General Sarah Hendry said:
“We are thrilled Michael is joining us. He has previously worked with a number of membership organisations which will be a real asset to the CLA.
“CLA members in the South East own and manage a vast array of industry-leading rural businesses operating at the heart of our communities, creating jobs, feeding the population and looking after our environment.
“This is a period of great challenges and opportunities, and we are pleased that Michael is joining our strong South East team to continue supporting their work at such a crucial time.”