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Food and drink chief

Thompson makes switch to UKHospitality Scotland

Leon Thompson and Kate Nicholls

Leon Thompson has been appointed UKHospitality Scotland executive director, succeeding Willie Macleod who is retiring.

Mr Thompson joins on 4 May from VisitScotland where he has led policy agenda since 2013 and has helped build networks among Ministers, MSPs, Cabinet Secretaries and key industry stakeholders.

Mr Macleod will step down after nearly ten years championing Scottish hospitality businesses. 

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls thanked Mr Macleod for his dedication to UKHospitality and Scotland’s hospitality and tourism sectors, and welcomed Mr Thomson to the team.

She said: “Leon brings many years’ worth of expertise and a huge amount of political acumen working with policymakers in Scotland.


“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.”

Mr Thompson said: “From my work at VisitScotland, I know that this sector is an immensely diverse and exciting one. I am looking forward to meeting UKH’s members and fighting to ensure the Governments in Holyrood and Westminster, and local authorities across Scotland work with us to get the best out of our businesses.” 

Mr Macleod said: “It has been a  privilege and pleasure to champion Scotland’s fantastic hospitality sector for ten years during very challenging times – especially now as the industry is on the verge of re-opening and recovering from the ravages of COVID-19.”

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