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Ex-Virgin Atlantic chief Ridgway to head VisitBritain
Ridgway will lead VisitBritan from April

Ex-Virgin Atlantic chief Ridgway to head VisitBritain

UK culture secretary Karen Bradley has appointed Steve Ridgway as the new chair of the British Tourist Authority, which includes VisitBritain and VisitEngland, while and Denis Wormwell will take up the role of chair of the VisitEngland advisory board.

Ridgway will take over from Christopher Rodrigues and Wormwell will take over from take over from Lady Penny Cobham.

The incoming chairs will commence their roles on April 1st for a term of three years.

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.”

Steve Ridgway worked for Virgin Atlantic for more than 23 years in a variety of roles, including chief executive for the past 14.

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

In turn Denis Wormwell has served as a VisitEngland board member since 2009.

Until December, he was chief executive UK tour operating and hotel business Shearings Leisure Group, a position he held for almost ten years.

During this time he led a management buyout of the business and under his stewardship the business grew to carry over 1.1 million customers a year.

He spent three years as a director of Thomas Cook Tour Operations, before joining National Express Group where he held the role of chief executive of the coach business for six years and was credited with growing and transforming the iconic brand.

He left the business in 2007 to join Shearings.

The British Tourist Authority post is remunerated at £40,000 per annum and the salary for the VisitEngland Advisory Board Chair is £345 per day, or up to £16,320 per annum.

The appointments have been made in accordance with the OCPA Code of Practice.

It is a requirement of the Code that political activity by those appointed is declared.

Both chairs have declared no such political activity.