Willie Macleod to retire from UKHospitality Scotland

VisitScotland’s Leon Thompson takes on trade group role

Willie Macleod
Willie Macleod is to step down after almost a decade in the role.

WILLIE Macleod is to retire from his role heading up UKHospitality Scotland after nearly ten years championing Scottish hospitality businesses.

Macleod, who was presented with the SLTN Industry Achievement Award in 2018, will step down after a decade of lobbying on behalf of the hospitality sector as Scotland’s executive director for the then British Hospitality Association (BHA) and its successor, UKHospitality.

Leon Thompson, who has led VisitScotland’s policy agenda since 2013, will take up the UKHospitality Scotland executive director role on 4th May.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, thanked Macleod for his dedication to the trade body and Scotland’s hospitality and tourism sectors, and welcomed Thompson to the organisation.

“Leon brings many years’ worth of expertise and a huge amount of political acumen working with policy-makers in Scotland,” she said.

“He knows the sector inside out and has done brilliant work in positioning Scotland as a world-class tourist destination. I know he will be unstinting in his efforts to ensure we remain the number one advocate of hospitality in Scotland.

“I would also like to thank Willie for his years of dedication to an industry he first worked in as a teenager. Willie is much-loved in the hospitality community and brought a welcome sense of continuity during UKHospitality’s first few years. His hard work has ensured that valuable hospitality businesses in Scottish communities have had a voice at the highest levels of government.”

Macleod said it has been a “privilege and pleasure to champion Scotland’s hospitality sector for ten years during very challenging times”.

“This is a vigorous, hardworking and resilient sector that shows the best of Scottish ingenuity and generosity,” he said.

“It has evolved hugely in the time that I have been promoting its interests and we can proudly say it is genuinely world class.

“I would like to thank my colleagues and members of UKH for their professional and good-humoured support and a host of others – in sister trade bodies, the media, public agencies and government – who I have worked alongside in partnership and friendship with the shared goal of ensuring the sustainability of a fantastic industry that beats at the heart of Scotland’s economy.”