Former Virgin Atlantic and Shearings bosses to chair key UK tourism boards

Former Virgin Atlantic and Shearings bosses to chair key UK tourism boards

Steve Ridgway has been appointed chairman of VisitBritain/VisitEngland, taking over from Christopher Rodrigues, and Denis Wormwell succeeds Lady Penny Cobham as chairman of the VisitEngland advisory board.

They take up their new roles on April 1 for a period of three years.

Culture secretary Karen Bradley said: “Steve Ridgway and Denis Wormwell bring with them a wealth of experience and will be dedicated champions of British and English tourism at a very exciting time for the industry.

“I would like to thank Christopher Rodrigues and Lady Penny Cobham wholeheartedly for the invaluable contribution they have made to the tourism sector over the past decade and beyond.”

The VisitBritain/VisitEngland post is remunerated at £40,000 a year and the salary for the VisitEngland Advisory Board Chair is £345 per day, or up to £16,320 a year.

Ridgway worked for Virgin Atlantic for more than 23 years, including 14 years as chief executive.

Since leaving the airline he has pursued his personal interests, which includes St Moritz Hotel in Cornwall, which he owns with his brother.

He has also taken up advisory board roles with Global Infrastructure Partners and is chairman of Scandlines, a large Baltic Ferry operator between Germany and Denmark.

Ridgway has been an independent board member of VisitBritain since 2013.

Wormwell has served as a VisitEngland board member since 2009 and was chief executive of Shearings for 10 years until standing down last month.

He has spent 30 years in the travel and leisure sector beginning as an overseas rep. In the early 1990’s he was part of the management team that bought Club 18-30 and then Sunset Holidays before setting up the airline Flying Colours and selling the combined business to Thomas Cook in 1998.

He spent three years as a director of Thomas Cook Tour Operations, before joining National Express Group as chief executive of its coach business for six years.

Wormwell has held board positions with the Confederation of Passenger Transport, Abta and the Federation of Tours Operators. He is a non-executive director of Uniform Brands.

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