Visa CEO heads up VisitBritain

Christopher Rodrigues has been appointed as the new chair of the national tourism body, VisitBritain.
He will take up the post from 1 January 2007, when the current chair, Lord Colin Marshall of Knightsbridge, steps down after two years in the role.

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell announced the appointment, saying:

“Christopher Rodrigues’ credentials are impeccable, with his impressive experience in both the tourism and financial sectors.

“Tourism’s already important contribution to the economy is set to rocket as we look to capitalise on the opportunities of hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“I look forward to working with Christopher Rodrigues to make London 2012 the most successful Games for a host nation’s tourism industry in modern Olympic history.


“And I thank Lord Marshall for sharing his vision and expertise over the past two years. He leaves VisitBritain, and indeed the British tourism industry, in excellent shape with a record number of visitors in the last year, making us the envy of countries around the world.

“I wish him well in his future endeavours.”

Mr Rodrigues said:

“Tourism is an enormous player in the UK economy, employing 2.1 million people and worth over GBP74 billion a year. Within that, inbound tourism is one of our great success stories, with a record 30 million visitors last year spending GBP14.3 billion.

“I look forward to working with the VisitBritain management and board to develop a winning strategy for Britain in this truly entreprenurial sector of the UK economy.”

Christopher Rodrigues has been president and chief executive at Visa International from 2004-2006. Between 1996 and 2004 he was group chief executive at Bradford and Bingley, leading the process towards its initial placement in 2000 and entry to the FTSE 100 list in 2002.

Between 1988 and 1996 he was chief operating officer and group chief executive at Thomas Cook. Earlier in his career he was a manager at McKinsey and Co, before spending nine years with American Express.