Chair and Members appointed to the Board of Tourism Northern Ireland

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster has announced the appointment of a new Chairman and three other appointments to the Board of Tourism Northern Ireland.

Terence Brannigan has been appointed Chairman of the Board of Tourism Northern Ireland with effect from 1 April 2015. His appointment is for a three year period.

Three Board members have also been recently appointed. Colin Neill and Michele Shirlow have been appointed with effect from 1 January 2015 and Geoff Wilson has been appointed with effect from 1 March 2015. All are for a three year period.

Commenting on the appointments, Arlene Foster said: “I look forward to working with the new Chairman and Board members who bring a strong mix of skills with them and I am confident that they will help to build the value of tourism to the local economy. They join the Board at the start of an important change process as the recommendations of the Hunter Review are taken forward.”

The Minister also announced the reappointment of Katy Best to the Board, with effect from 1 February 2015. This is for a three year period.

Howard Hastings’s extended second term of office as Chairman will end on 31 March 2015.

Thanking the outgoing Chairman the Minister added: “I would like to thank Howard Hastings for his tireless effort and dedication in helping to raise the profile of the tourism industry here in Northern Ireland. I would also like to express my appreciation to him for agreeing to extend his second term of office by three months to ensure the smooth transition in the appointment of a new Chairman.”

The appointments have been made in accordance with the Code of Practice of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, Northern Ireland.

Notes to editors:

1. Tourism Northern Ireland is a statutory NDPB established under the Development of Tourist Traffic Act (NI) 1948. Its constitution and continuation were affirmed in the Tourism (NI) Order 1992. Tourism Northern Ireland is funded by DETI under Article 7 of the Order, from monies voted by Parliament. Tourism Northern Ireland is the trading name of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board

2. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments, Northern Ireland requires the political activity of appointees (if any declared) to be published.

None of the appointees or the re-appointee has had any political activity in the last 5 years.

3. Chairman of the Board of Tourism Northern Ireland carries a remuneration of £25,165 per annum. Membership of the Board of Tourism Northern Ireland carries a remuneration of £5,045 per annum.

4. Pen Pictures

New appointments

Terence Brannigan

Terence is a Board Member of Co-operation Ireland and has been a Visiting Professor for the Business Institute of the University of Ulster since June 2010.

He holds one other public appointment as Chairman of the Maze Long Kesh Development Corporation (OFMDFM) in September 2012. This carries a remuneration of £30,000 per annum.

Terence brings a range of experience with him to the role, including leadership, strategic thinking, corporate governance, financial management, building and maintaining relationships and communication skills.

Colin Neill

Colin joined Pubs of Ulster as Chief Executive in August 2008, having previously held the post of Economic and Tourism Development Manager with Ballymena Borough Council, specialising in town centre regeneration and was formerly the Operations Manager with Belfast City Centre Management.

He has also been a board member of the association of Town Centre Management and the Chairman of the Northern Ireland Association of Town Centre Managers. He is also a member of the Larne Town Centre Masterplan Implementation Group. In addition, Colin is a UK Board Member of the Purple Flag scheme and is the past Chairman of the NI Steering Group.

In his role as Chief Executive, Colin works closely with all sectors of the hospitality industry, Industry Suppliers and the. Colin is responsible for the strategic management of the organisation, and also represents the interests of the industry on a number of external working groups.

Most recently Colin chaired a number of working groups relating to the hospitality sector as part of the Review of Business Red Tape, taken forward by the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment
Colin holds an MBA from the University of Ulster, is a member of the Institute of Directors, the Northern Ireland Government Affairs Group and the Northern Ireland Assembly Business Trust.

Colin brings experience of corporate governance, marketing and communication, ability to deal with strategic issues and working in partnership to the Board of Tourism Northern Ireland. He does not hold any other public appointments.

Michele Shirlow

Michele Shirlow has been, since 2007, the Chief Executive of FoodNI which aims to enhance the reputation of food from Northern Ireland. Michele previously worked with SMEs in a senior management role in LEDU before moving to take responsibility for Export Marketing in Invest NI as Assistant Trade Director. She was also previously a management accountant at Courtaulds Textiles.

Michele’s previous appointments have included being an Independent Board Member of the Special EU Programmes Body as well as being a Business and Finance representative of the College Advisory Group sponsored by DARD. In addition Michele has held a position as a Governor of Oakwood Integrated Primary School and while on secondment from Invest NI provided a secretariat function to the Food Strategy Implementation Partnership to implement their Fit for Market Strategy with DARD and Invest NI.

Michele brings the ability to deal with strategic issues and experience of scrutinising performance, maintaining relationships and working in partnership to the Board of Tourism Northern Ireland. She does not hold any other public appointments.

Geoff Wilson

Geoff is the owner of ‘Geoff Wilson Consultancy’ providing services in the areas of sport, business and government. He works with a wide range of global and national sporting organisations such as FIFA.

Geoff was formally Head of Marketing and Communication at the Irish Football Association. In February 2014, Geoff was appointed to the board of Sport NI (for which he receives travel expenses) and is also on the Board of CIM Ireland (Chartered Institute of Marketing).

Geoff brings the ability to deal with strategic issues and scrutinise performance of an organisation and experience of marketing and communication and ability to build effective working relationships to the Board of Tourism Northern Ireland.

Reappointment

Katy Best

Katy is the Commercial and Marketing Director at Belfast City Airport and is responsible for all revenue streams, marketing, communications and tourism related activity at the Airport. Katy has over 10 years experience within tourism-related businesses in Belfast, London and Sydney. She is currently serving as a Non-Executive Director of The MAC, Tall Ships 2015 Ltd and is a Council member of NI Connections. Katy was previously a Council member of the NI Chamber of Commerce and has held a post on the Tourism Ireland Central Marketing Partnership Committee. Katy also attends meetings of the VisitBritain Board on Tourism NI’s behalf, as an observer.

Dr Howard Hastings OBE, Chair

Howard is currently the Managing Director of Hastings Hotels. He is also a Director of Merrion Hotel Ltd (ROI) and a Board Member of Tourism Ireland. During the 1990s he was Chairman of the Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland and Founding Chairman of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation. Howard has also been a past Chairman of Rockport Preparatory School, a member of Castlereagh College governing body and a Board Member of Business in the Community and the Bank of Ireland Advisory Board. His previous public appointments include the Training & Employment Agency, Investors in People, New Deal Task Force and the Tourism and Hospitality Training Council. In 2011 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Ulster. In June 2014 Howard was awarded an OBE for his services to tourism and hospitality.