Welcome to Yorkshire appoints new CEO

James Mason

Troubled tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire announced on Monday that former sports journalist James Mason has been appointed as its new chief executive.

The 41-year-old, born and raised in Bradford, is the former chief operating officer of Bradford City Football Club and more recently chief operating officer of global sports agency First Point USA.

He was previously a journalist at the BBC and he has also established and grown a number of businesses.

Tourism in Yorkshire is worth £9 billion annually and the county’s tourism and hospitality industry employs almost 225,000 people.

Mason’s appointment comes about nine months after Gary Verity resigned on health grounds as chief executive at Welcome to Yorkshire amid bullying and expense spending allegations.

Mason said: “I have been fortunate during my career to fulfil so many of my childhood dreams, from broadcasting on national radio and television, to running my beloved Bradford City Football Club.

“To lead an organisation responsible for putting Yorkshire on the world map is an honour.

“As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am enormously proud of my Yorkshire roots and I have continued to live in the county even when work has taken me around the globe. 

“I’m looking forward to working with the team at Welcome to Yorkshire to continue to build this country’s reputation as the best place in the world to visit, live and work.

“I know the organisation has been through a challenging period and I understand the need for transparency going forward. 

“I have every confidence that by working together, and with the support of our partners and stakeholders, we can regain trust and rebuild relationships.

“Looking forward there are opportunities for digital growth and to engage with the Yorkshire community across the world to really showcase the county’s modern-day diversity.

“Welcome to Yorkshire, and Yorkshire as a whole, has a hugely exciting future. I really can’t wait to get started.”

Welcome to Yorkshire chair Peter Box said: “James is a passionate and proud Yorkshireman.

“He’ll be a hands-on CEO with strong values and integrity who brings with him a wealth of experience in business, marketing and public relations and will be a huge advocate not only for the organisation but for the county. 

“This is a new start for Welcome to Yorkshire, and as chair, I’m very much looking forward to working with James to build on the organisation’s fantastic foundations and together, with the team, lead us into a new and exciting future.”