54 English Bridge August 2017 www.ebu.co.uk
arry Capal left the EBU in July having been
the catalyst for some major changes that
have ensured the future success of the
organisation. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude
and wish him every happiness in retirement. This
is a good moment to catch up with his plans and
share his thoughts on his time with the EBU.
How long have you been General Manager of the EBU?
I will have been GM for eleven years and one
month! I thought I might last two or three years …
What have been the main changes over that time -
what is your legacy?
Most of the first three and a half years were taken
up with increasing efficiency and saving money. But
there are three main things that have happened
during my leadership - the change of governance
colloquially known as P2P, the NGS and recently
overseeing our IT heart transplant - a membership
management system called Workbooks.
Do you think P2P and the NGS have been successful?
Yes I do. I spent years together with a lot of board
members, working on what became Universal
Membership. Incredibly stressful at the time, so
much so that I almost stopped playing bridge so
that I wouldn't be abused! Happily, it all worked out
rather well, and seven years on, Universal
Membership seems like it has been with us forever.
The NGS took a while to creep into the everyday
psyche of our members, but I truly believe it adds
an extra dimension to competitive play, and gives
younger players an opportunity to show how good
they are, before they amass a lifetime's master
points! Our NGS pages on the website are among
the most visited which really speaks for itself. I have
also been answering 'NGS Queries' for the last few
years, and I can tell you that a lot of people are keen
to understand why their grade is not as high as they
think it should be!
Many of our ideas are today being taken up by
other bridge federations which is heart-warming.
How will you spend your well-earned retirement?
Truly not sure yet. I intend to take a break and
review my options. Prior to restarting work for the
EBU, I had done some volunteering for the Prince's
Trust, so I may try that again. I also very much enjoy
business/IT mentoring and have done some of that
privately and I may try to do some more. We are
going to move house so as to be closer to our
remaining UK-based son and his family and we will
probably spend some extra time in Australia with
the other half of our progeny.
If you could arrange a farewell bridge game, who would
be at your table (dead or alive)?
Not something I have ever considered. I have no
pretensions about my bridge ability and I know
little about bridge player history.
Any words of advice for Gordon?
Gordon has been around bridge and the EBU for
so long that he will slip into the job very easily. I
have no specific advice, other than look after the
excellent staff he is inheriting at Aylesbury, then the
job becomes easy.
Any things to finally note?
I have worked incredibly closely with three
different chairmen. Many of you may not realise
just how much time is put in by the Board's officers.
Sally Bugden and Jeremy Dhondy were and are
effectively executive chairmen, but totally unpaid
for an enormous effort. r
Thank You . . .