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Consumer affairs correspondent Gillian Marles
"Mr Lynch is said to be very much a people person"
 real 28k

Consumer affairs correspondent Gillian Marles
"Visit Scotland announced that Rod Lynch would be taking up the post"
 real 56k

Thursday, 19 April, 2001, 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK
New chief for tourist body
Rod Lynch
Mr Lynch's appointment was announced on Thursday
Rod Lynch has been named as the man tasked with turning Scotland's embattled tourist industry around.

He was announced as the new chief executive of visitscotland - previously known as the Scottish Tourist Board - on Thursday morning.

The 51-year-old has spent most of his career in the airline industry, but has also held posts at Forte Hotels and the BBC, where he set up the resources division.

His most recent post - under secondment from British Airways - was as chief executive of the state-owned Olympic Airways in Greece, where he is credited with revitalising the company.

The foot-and-mouth emergency has served to underline just how important the tourism sector is to Scotland

Rod Lynch
Mr Lynch takes over at a time when the foot-and-mouth crisis has left confidence in the tourist industry at an all-time low.

Speaking at a media conference in Glasgow, he said he was relishing the challenge.

"The foot-and-mouth emergency has served to underline just how important the tourism sector is to Scotland and my first priority has to be to ensure that the recovery plans we are implementing with the industry are effective," he said.

He said the industry had reached "a low water mark" and that there was much to be done.

"There is a significant job to be done to re-organise visitscotland, to redirect and remotivate its people and to re-establish links with the industry at all levels, and to drive forward tourism," he said.

Mr Lynch, who was born in Perth but currently lives in London, takes up his post on 4 June.

Tourist signs
The industry has been hit by foot-and-mouth
He said he would be taking an eight-day break in the United States this month, which he stressed would be a mix of business and leisure.

"I will be in New York, but I will be there to make contact with industry figures at the British Tourist Authority," he said.

He said he appreciated there was a "certain colour" that was being added to the reporting of senior Scottish figures' holiday destinations.

Tourism Minister Alasdair Morrison came under fire last week when he took a family holiday in Italy.

Mr Lynch also revealed that he was taking a 50% pay cut for his new job.

'Absolutely delighted'

He said his new salary of 145,000 was approximately half his current pay, once bonuses and share options at British Airways were taken into account.

Peter Lederer, the chairman of visitscotland, said he was "absolutely delighted" with the appointment.

And Enterprise Minister Wendy Alexander said: "He is the world-class leader we have been seeking and has extensive business experience at the top-level of organisations including international airlines, top hotels and in public service."

The tourist organisation has been on the hunt for a new chief executive since last November, when Tom Buncle stood down from the post.

He left following a highly critical report into the board's activities.

Peter Lederer
Peter Lederer welcomed the appointment
The independent review had been commissioned by the then enterprise minister Henry McLeish after figures showed the number of foreign visitors coming to Scotland fell by 11% in 1999.

The PriceWaterhouseCoopers report recommended a radical shake-up of the board, a cut in the number of directors and a change of name to visitscotland.

Mr Buncle resigned days after the report was made public and this was followed weeks later by the decision of Lord Jimmy Gordon not to seek a second term as chairman.

Former civil servant Peter McKinlay took on the role of interim chief executive during the search for Mr Buncle's replacement.

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See also:

17 Apr 01 | Scotland
Global tourist chiefs see Scotland
16 Apr 01 | Scotland
Easter break springs tourism hope
13 Apr 01 | Scotland
Minister's 'regret' over Italy trip
28 Feb 01 | Scotland
Tourism chief stands down
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