Ian Stephens, the managing director of Cumbria Tourism, has announced he is to step down after 11 years in the role.
Stephens, who joined in 2005 after taking over from Chris Collier OBE, is believed to be the organisation’s longest ever serving executive director.
With destination brands like the Lake District, Hadrian’s Wall and Historic Carlisle, the role of managing director is one of the most important in England’s tourism industry responsible for Cumbria’s £2.6 billion industry that supports 40,000 jobs throughout the county.
During his time as MD, Stephens has played a pivotal role in various marketing campaigns such as the Place to Be campaign, Taste Cumbria and Adventure Capital campaigns and in crisis management with the Foot and Mouth Recovery campaign and Flood Recovery campaign, and together with his team has spearheaded the drive to improve all aspects of the tourism industry across Cumbria.
Stephens said: “It has been an honour and privilege to work in one of the most exciting and dynamic sectors in UK’s economy. I have loved working for Cumbria Tourism and with exceptional people through major changes.
“It’s a challenging role and now is the time to hand the reins to someone who can take the organisation through the next phase of its development. I’m not planning to retire and am looking forward to pursuing a number of projects in due course. After 14 years as a director of CT, I feel I need a change and the next six months seems a good time to make the move.
“I also think it’s a good thing for CT and chance for a fresh start with a new constitution and new leadership. CT is in good shape and in the strongest position it’s been for many years, with great potential to grow. So, in the short term, it is my priority to see through a smooth handover with minimum disruption.”