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John to help steer border brand into future

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
John to help steer border brand into future

A NEW executive chairman has been appointed at Gretna Green and has big plans for the historic site.

John Holliday, 53, says he is ‘honoured’ to join the hospitality, events and retail group and is looking forward to growing one of Scotland’s oldest attractions.

He spent 20 years in London, working at four blue-chip media brands including ITV, BBC, Sky News and Bloomberg,

However, his career started not in the boardroom, but on the pitch as a centre half with Carlisle United and Mansfield Town.

He then switched footballs for business and has enjoyed several successes, including taking a UK focused broadcast technology and making it truly global; building the world’s smallest TV studio in a box and ‘The Home of the Expert’.

A farmer’s son, he grew up at Langwathby near Penrith and returned to Cumbria in 2019 to help grow two businesses in the Eden Valley and initially joined the Gretna Green Board as non-executive director in 2022.

His new full-time role starts with immediate effect and he is taking it over from Alasdair Houston, who passed away in June 2021.

Mr Holliday said: “This is an iconic global brand with a rich heritage and history. It has a bright future and as custodian I am excited to be part of its continued success.

“I look forward to working with chief executive Isabel Rhodes and the team to build on the company’s strengths and drive growth in new and innovative ways.”

Commenting on his appointment, Gretna Green family director Lucy Houston said: “As a seasoned professional, John brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our team.

“He has previously served in senior roles at high-profile companies and has a proven track record of driving growth, implementing effective strategies, building and leading successful teams.”

Fellow director Susan Houston added: “In his new role as executive chairman, John will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of our business, including strategy and growth initiatives.

“He will work closely with the senior management team to ensure that our business continues to thrive and evolve in today’s dynamic marketplace.”

And they thanked outgoing chairman John Hammond, who is continuing to support the board as non-executive director: “Susan and I are extremely grateful for John Hammond’s kindness and steady support during the last couple of year following Alasdair’s death and thank him for his loyalty, hard work and guidance.

“We now look to the future and feel this is an exciting time for the company going forward with John Holliday as executive chairman,” added Mrs Houston.

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