Giovanna Grossi is to leave her role as group area manager at the AA after 17 years.
Grossi, who is recognised in the industry as a keen supporter of rising star chefs and a stickler for quality standards, has been in her current role since 2008. She told The Caterer that she hopes to explore new opportunities when she leaves the guidebook publishers at the end of September.
She said: "I have absolutely loved every minute of my time at the AA - it's never been a job but rather a way of life, and an absolute privilege to carry out my role. I have been fortunate to work with some outstanding, talented individuals, and I've met so many passionate and inspiring people in this industry.
Grossi, who is known for championing new talent, added: "The rewards I have had from supporting and encouraging people in the industry to achieve their goals has been incredible. But I feel that the time is right now to explore some new opportunities and to have some quality time to pursue and enjoy some of the things that I have wanted to do."
Peter Laigaard Jensen, the head of AA hotel and hospitality services, who joined the organisation in March this year, commented: "Giovanna has worked for the AA for 17 years with amazing passion, service and dedication, and she has always been a loyal and valued team member. The respect and reputation she has within the industry is a huge asset to the AA and we will miss her very much.
"Giovanna will continue to work in the business until 30 September and this will include supporting the team for the AA Hospitality Awards."
Grossi graduated from Manchester University in accountancy before joining the family restaurant business. In 1999, she took on her first role at the AA as a patch inspector but she still continued to work at her family's restaurants at the weekend.
After her parents sold the business in 2003, Grossi moved into a new role at the AA within the key accounts team. When an opportunity to become an area manager for London and the South East came up nine months later, she jumped at the chance and carried out the role for about two years.
When the organisation restructured in January 2008 and did away with the role of chief inspector, the title of group area manager was created and Grossi took on the job.
Since then, Grossi's remit has included management of the inspection team and area managers, quality standards, liaison with tourist boards, responsibility for the awards processes, management of a number of key customers, training and recruitment of new inspectors.
She concluded: "I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all the amazing people I have worked with during my time here at the AA, and to thank all the wonderful people in the industry who have supported and inspired me, and shown me great kindness. I'll never forget the incredible years I have spent here and the wonderful memories that were created among fabulous friends."
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