New chief executive at troubled tourist body

A new chief executive has been appointed at Welcome to Yorkshire, following the departure of former boss Sir Gary Verity in March on health grounds.

James Mason, 41, the former chief operating officer at Bradford City Football Club and more recently chief operating officer of global sports agency, First Point USA will join the organisation early in 2020.

Born and raised in Bradford Mr Mason describes himself as a proud and passionate Yorkshireman who is looking forward to bringing some ‘energy and further creativity’ to the role.

Having also been a broadcast Journalist at the BBC and has established and grown a number of businesses, James brings with him a wealth of experience in business growth, finance, marketing and public relations.

Commenting on the appointment, James said: “I have been fortunate during my career to fulfil so many of my childhood dreams, from broadcasting on national radio and television, to running my beloved Bradford City Football Club. To lead an organisation responsible for putting Yorkshire on the world map is an honour. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am enormously proud of my Yorkshire roots and I have continued to live in the county even when work has taken me around the globe.”

Since Sir Gary’s exit, the tourism body has faced a number of allegations of wrongdoing, which led to two independent investigations being set up in to mismanagement including the way expenses were made and the culture which existed.

Mr Mason commented: “I know the organisation has been through a challenging period and I understand the need for transparency going forward. I have every confidence that by working together, and with the support of our partners and stakeholders, we can regain trust and rebuild relationships. Looking forward there are opportunities for digital growth and to engage with the Yorkshire community across the world to really showcase the county’s modern-day diversity. Welcome to Yorkshire, and Yorkshire as a whole, has a hugely exciting future. I really can’t wait to get started.”

This new hire follows the appointment of Wakefield Council Leader Peter Box  as the new chairman of Welcome to Yorkshire in October, who stated when he joined that he intended to make the agency “open and transparent”.

Speaking about the appoint of Mr Mason, Peter Box, added:‘James is a passionate and proud Yorkshireman. He’ll be a hands-on CEO with strong values and integrity. This is a new start for Welcome to Yorkshire, and as Chair, I’m very much looking forward to working with James to build on the organisation’s fantastic foundations and together, with the team, lead us into a new and exciting future.’

James lives in Guiseley, Leeds, with his wife and two children. Earlier this year he founded a new café for dementia sufferers in Bradford (Bradford Memories) in association with the Sporting Memories charity, where he is a trustee.

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