Marketing Lancashire New Board Directors

18 January 2013

Marketing Lancashire, the organisation created to promote the county as an excellent place to visit, live, work, study and invest in, today announced the appointment of its new non-executive board directors from the private sector, who will play a key role in the strategic direction of Marketing Lancashire and the realisation of the company’s ambitions for the county.

The new directors are: Margaret Bruce, Pro Vice Chancellor (Engagement) of University of Central Lancashire; Jane Cole, General Manager for Virgin Trains, Preston; Christine Cort, Managing Director of the Manchester International Festival.

Each of the directors brings valuable and complementary skills to the existing board of public sector stakeholders, and their credentials and success in the fields of education, infrastructure and world class events will play an invaluable role in the development of Marketing Lancashire and the destination.

Ruth Connor, Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire, commenting on the appointments said

“I am delighted to welcome Margaret, Jane and Christine to the Board of Marketing Lancashire. These individuals bring a wealth of knowledge, contacts and skills to help support and encourage Marketing Lancashire’s objectives of driving growth in the visitor economy as well as being a strong, confident and unified voice that actively encourages and supports business generation across the county. Coupled with this they also have incredible passion and vision for Lancashire.”

Chair of the Board of Directors, Paul Heathcote MBE added

“I have always believed that a chairman’s job is most effective and most satisfying, when you are able to build a team of talented individuals from a variety of complementary backgrounds. These appointments are truly excellent and bring balance and additional strength to the existing public sector directors. We aim to make one or two further appointments from the private sector in the very near future – it is a very exciting time for Marketing Lancashire going forward.”

Margaret Bruce, Pro Vice Chancellor (Engagement) of University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) brings substantial experience of business engagement and research management to the board.   Prior to her appointment to UCLan,  Margaret was a professor of Strategic Marketing and Design Management at Manchester Business School, Manchester University.  She was also a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard Business School and has been awarded Professorships for her research contribution to design and innovation, marketing and fashion retail in China, France and the UK. Margaret has published 8 books, is a Chartered Marketer and Founding Chair of Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Retail Market Group

Jane Cole, General Manager of Virgin Trains, based in Preston has a keen interest in transport, tourism and business growth and boasts a career spanning 34 years in the rail industry. She began working for Virgin Trains in 1997, when they were awarded the West Coast franchise and has since been instrumental in transforming the long distance rail experience for people who travel into Lancashire from Scotland, Cumbria, Birmingham, London and various other UK towns and cities.  In 2013, Lancashire will see 50% more capacity for rail travellers into and out of Lancashire as Virgin Trains continue to run the franchise until December 2015.  Jane intends to use this opportunity to grow the business & leisure market to and from Lancashire and to increase tourist visitors to the county.

Christine Cort, Managing Director of the Manchester International Festival, grew up in Blackburn and started her career at Riverside Studios when Michael Clarke was choreographer in residence and Brian Eno was experimenting with sound and light installations. She worked with many great artists during this time including Kenneth Branagh, Vanessa Redgrave, Gore Vidal, Richard Wentworth and Max Wall.  She then joined Sir Terence Conran’s team at the Design Museum before being headhunted to join Time Out, where she was quickly promoted to Marketing Director then Group Marketing Director working across the Time Out Guides. After 10 years with the group she relocated with her family to the Ribble Valley, close to where she grew up, and was soon persuaded by Alex Poots to help set up the Manchester International Festival.

After only three Festivals, Manchester International Festival is widely regarded as one of the most successful Festivals in the world and its reputation for staging World Premieres goes from strength to strength. 

The current board of Marketing Lancashire comprises:

Paul Heathcote MBE (Chair)

Margaret Bruce, UCLan

Cllr Graham Cain, Blackpool Borough Council

Jane Cole, Virgin Trains

Christine Cort, Manchester International Festival

County Cllr Michael Green, Lancashire County Council

County Cllr Jim Lawrenson, Lancashire County Council

Cllr Ron O Keefe, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

Cllr Michael Ranson, Ribble Valley Borough Council


Media enquiries: Anna Izza, Communications Manager, Marketing Lancashire

      01772 426 459 or [email protected]

Notes to Editors

1.         Marketing Lancashire is the new name for Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board (from 1st April 2012)

Our activities in marketing and communications, commercial membership, `Welcome to Excellence` training and place marketing are all designed to grow the visitor economy and develop Lancashire as a destination of choice to visit, live, work, study and invest in.

In 2011 Lancashire attracted just over 60 million visitors who contributed £3.37 billion to the local economy and helped support 55,603 jobs.

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