Welcome to Yorkshire chairman to resign if failings found during review

Sir Gary Verity. Photo: Guy Carpenter.

The chair of Welcome to Yorkshire (WTY) says he will resign if an independent review into the conduct of former chief executive Sir Gary Verity finds that he has personally “fallen short of the standards required”.

Chairman Ron McMillan is facing calls to step down following Sir Gary’s resignation last week amid bullying allegations and “errors of judgement” in relation to expenses.

It has since emerged that there have been four separate investigations into Sir Gary’s conduct and he received a final written warning about his behaviour in 2017.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s former head of communications, Dee Marshall, yesterday gave an interview to the BBC where she said Sir Gary had subjected staff to “completely unacceptable” behaviour and had “really hurt people” in the organisation.

Susan Briggs is director of The Tourism Network, an organisation which works with small tourism businesses in Yorkshire.

She has been highly critical of the boards’s handling of the situation and has called for Mr McMillan to stand down.

She said: “I think the chair of the WTY board Ron McMillan should resign immediately.

“He has had a lifetime of experience in financial management so it’s just too ironic if he didn’t see what was happening under his nose.

“In the WTY statement, he said ‘business as usual’. That just can’t be – it’s far too complacent an attitude.”

Welcome to Yorkshire’s chairman Ron McMillan said in a statement: “The board has committed to an independent review which we will hopefully kick-off in the next week or two.

“The result of that will have to be considered by the board and if the conclusion of that review is than I have fallen short of the standards required, then I will do the honourable thing and resign.”

This morning, North Yorkshire County Council leader and WTY board member Car Les told Richmondshire Today he would not be resigning from the board.

Describing the situation as “very sad”, Cllr Les stressed that Sir Gary has resigned due to ill health.

He said: “My thoughts continue to be with Sir Gary and his family and I wish him a return to proper health.”

The council leader said that the tourism agency could not have carried out much of what it had in recent years, including the delivery of the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014, without the input of Sir Gary.

However, he added that Welcome to Yorkshire was more than just one man and he would be supporting the team to deliver upcoming events including the Y19 conference and the Welcome to Yorkshire garden at the Chelsea Flower Show.