Albert Poggio, the Gibraltar Government’s representative in the UK and Director of Gibraltar House in London, will retire at the end of June after 28 years of distinguished service, it was announced yesterday.
There was no confirmation of who will succeed him in the post, although the Gibraltar Government had previously named its Hong Kong representative, Jason Cruz, as the man who would step into Mr Poggio’s post upon his retirement.
Mr Poggio, the doyen of the Overseas Territories’ Representatives in the UK, will remain in post and liaise with UK MPs through the campaign on the EU referendum, which takes place on June 23.
Following his retirement, Albert Poggio will continue to work with MPs in the UK Parliament, and as Director (London) of Inward Investment, in a consultancy capacity which means that in retirement he will no longer be based at Gibraltar House.
He will also continue to oversee the completion of the new Calpe House on behalf of the Calpe House Trust.
“It has been a great privilege to serve the people of Gibraltar, formally, for the past 28 years,” Mr Poggio said.
“My passion for Gibraltar and its people will never diminish”.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo last night praised Mr Pogio for his many years of service to Gibraltar.
“Albert has put across the Gibraltar point of view in London with great skill and ability over many years,” Mr Picardo said.
“This continuous hard work is something that takes its toll and it is understandable that after so many years he should now want to retire.”
“I was delighted to move the Motion which bestowed the Gibraltar Medallion of Honour upon him and the fact that it was unanimous speaks for itself in terms of the regard in which he is held by all sides of the Gibraltar Parliament.”
“On behalf of the Government and the people of Gibraltar, I thank him for his important contribution and wish him a happy retirement.”
Mr Poggio has for many years been pivotal in liaising with both Houses of Parliament, political parties, local authorities and prominent individuals in the UK and became a well-known figure in his attendance at all the major Political Party Conferences.
He has been the Government of Gibraltar’s representative in the UK since 1989 and developed Gibraltar House in London into “an impressive window” for Gibraltar in the City of London and throughout the UK.
Mr Poggio, a Freeman of the City of London who was made an OBE in 2006, was crucial in Gibraltar’s campaign to derail the joint sovereignty proposals by Tony Blair in 200, the government said in a statement announcing his forthcoming retirement.
Had they proved successful, the proposals would have led to Spain and the UK sharing sovereignty of the Rock without regard to the views of the people of Gibraltar.
In March 2015, Mr Poggio was awarded the Grassroot Diplomat Initiative Honouree Award for strengthening political and business ties for Gibraltarians and British citizens alike over the last 20 years.
He was awarded the Gibraltar Medallion of Honour in 2014.