CEO, Welcome to Yorkshire & YYS Patron
“I am proud to have been appointed as patron of Yorkshire Young Sinfonia. This tremendous orchestra showcases some of Yorkshire’s finest young musicians and provides them with a spring board to becoming the professional musicians of tomorrow. Providing young people with the opportunity to continue their musical education and learn about wider life is a unique selling point of the YYS and I’d encourage everyone to support them.”
Sir Gary led the winning bid to bring the Grand Départ of the Tour de France to Yorkshire in 2014 and was instrumental in the entire process from start to finish. It has since been hailed as the grandest ever Grand Départ.
He led the county’s public and private sectors to back the successful bid to bring the Tour – the world’s largest annual sporting event – to Yorkshire ahead of other bidders such as Florence, Barcelona, Utrecht, Berlin and Scotland.
The county’s successful hosting of the Grand Départ of the Tour de France, which generated £102 million economic benefit, has now been followed up with Yorkshire’s very own international stage race, the Tour de Yorkshire, which enjoyed significant success in its inaugural year.
Sir Gary has been recognised for his contribution to the county he loves including being knighted in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to Tourism and the Tour De France Grand Départ 2014. He has also been named Yorkshire’s Man of the Year in 2014, Yorkshire and Humber IoD Director of the Year 2014 and received Yorkshire and Humber IoD’s Lifetime Achievement award. He has also been presented honorary doctorates from the University of York and Sheffield Hallam University.
Since his appointment as Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire in October 2008 he has successfully raised the profile of Yorkshire at a regional, national and international level. Welcome to Yorkshire has won various national and international awards for its marketing campaigns.
A dynamic and motivational leader, Sir Gary has an excellent track record in brand building and managing complex businesses. After 18 years with Royal Insurance, he built a reputation for turning around failing businesses. At Bradford and Bingley’s retail property services arm he quickly turned around four years of losses into profit. He also rebranded Prontaprint and Kall Kwik and is the former managing director of Johnsons Cleaners UK.
Sir Gary is the Regional Chair of Yorkshire & Humberside Heritage Lottery Fund and also chaired the Olympics for Yorkshire Committee.
His love of sport extends into his work; he is President of the world’s oldest cricket festival at Scarborough and also on the Board of Yorkshire County Cricket Club.
A passionate Yorkshireman, in his spare time Sir Gary is also an award-winning Dales sheep farmer and lives on a working farm near Leyburn.