Since his appointment as Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire in October 2008 he has successfully raised the profile of Yorkshire at a regional, national and international level. Welcome to Yorkshire is widely regarded as the leading destination management organisation in the UK, is hailed by the Government as an example to be followed and has international recognition for its marketing campaigns marking it out as one of the best tourism agencies in the world, not just England.
Gary led the winning bid to bring the Grand Départ of the Tour de France to Yorkshire in 2014 and was instrumental in the entire process from start to finish. He helped galvanise the county’s public and private sectors to stand together to back the ultimately successful bid to bring the Tour – the world’s largest annual sporting event – to Yorkshire ahead of other bidders like Florence, Barcelona, Utrecht, Berlin and Scotland. A dynamic and motivational leader, Gary has an excellent track record in brand building and managing complex businesses.
After 18 years with Royal Insurance, he built a reputation for turning around failing businesses. At Bradford and Bingley’s retail property services arm he quickly turned around four years of losses into profit. He also rebranded Prontaprint and Kall Kwik and is the former managing director of Johnsons Cleaners UK. A passionate Yorkshireman, in his spare time Gary is also an award-winning Dales sheep farmer and lives on a working farm in near Leyburn.
Since his late wife Helen was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2004 he has raised more than £500,000 for cancer charities in Yorkshire. Gary was awarded the title Yorkshireman of the Year 2012 for his outstanding charity work.His love of sport extends into his work; he is President of the world’s oldest cricket festival at Scarborough and also on the board of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.