Valentine, who has held the post for eight years and masterminded CAMRA’s Revitalisation Project, announced plans to step down and retire last year.
This week, the organisation revealed proposals to widen its scope and accept all forms of good-quality beer, as well as plans to champion beer and cider in all on-trade outlets.
In an interview with The Morning Advertiser, due to be published next week, Valentine dismissed gossip his retirement was a result of messing up the Revitalisation Project.
In fact, Valentine and the board were “quietly confident” the Revitalisation Project would be a success, he said.
“I’d like to clear up the statement that’s been made of me,” he said. “Some people have said the reason I am retiring is ‘because he’s – insert expletive [the Revitalisation Project' – and that's why he's bailing out, but nothing could be further from the truth.”
Valentine will hand over the chairmanship to current vice-chair Jackie Parker at CAMRA’s April AGM in Coventry, and claimed the decision to retire had been made years before it was announced.
“I decided after consultation in 2015 with the most important person in my life – my wife – that I would not be seeking re-election in 2018,” he added. “I’m not doing all of this [work on the Revitalisation Project] and leaving someone else to get on with it.”
He admitted eight years was a long time to lead the organisation and most people would question why he hadn’t gone sooner.
“It’s time for fresh blood, we’ve got a very good [board] and it is going to get on with it,” said Valentine, who was on the board for more than 18 years.
In really good nick
Of Valentine’s retirement, chief executive Tim Page, who has held the role since 2014, said: “Seeing CAMRA progressing into the next stage of life in really good nick and in an appropriate place is a good thing.”
The outgoing chairman had no plans for his retirement, other than spending more time with his wife and less time on trains.
He would, however, be willing to pick up projects if they were the right ones and had already agreed to some work.
Reflecting on his time in office, Valentine said one of his proudest achievements was playing a pivotal role in getting the Beer Duty Escalator scrapped.
“We had a plan that we were going to get 10,000 [signatures on an e-petition] every month and then the 10,000 a month we were looking for came in at 15,000 in the 2012 Great British Beer Festival,” he said.