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Lochaber Ideas Week 2017 - Charles Kennedy Memorial Lecture

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The Moorings Hotel

Seanivan

Banavie

PH33 7LY

United Kingdom

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We are delighted that The Rt Hon. the Viscount Thurso will be delivering this year's Charles Kennedy Memorial Lecture. A life-long Liberal Democrat and current Chairman of Visit Scotland, Lord Thurso has led a varied and interesting life which we are looking forward to hearing more about during his talk.



Born and brought up in Thurso the then Hon. John Sinclair was trained by the Savoy Group in London, working at Claridges, The Berkeley, and The Savoy before being appointed manager of the Lancaster in Paris becoming Europe’s youngest 5 star hotel manager aged 27.

In 1985 he accepted the offer to become founder General manager of Cliveden. Starting on a building site he recruited all the staff and created the atmosphere ready for the opening of what became Britain’s only “Stately Home Hotel”. Cliveden rapidly became acknowledged as one of the UK’s iconic properties gaining a Michelin star for its food, 91% in Egon Ronay and 5 red AA stars. He left Cliveden to run Granfel Holdings a private company owned by the Kuwaiti Investment Office and comprising 3 hotels and the prestigious East Sussex National Golf Course.

Succeeding his father as Viscount Thurso in 1995 he was head hunted to take over the ailing Fitness & Leisure holdings Group, owners of Champneys Health Resorts and Clubs. Subject of a BBC TV documentary “Trouble at the Top – Shape up with Lord Thurso” his actions rescuing the group and unpicking a failing time share became an object lesson in successful strategy still used in management colleges.

Lord Thurso has also been a non – executive director of a number of companies including the Savoy Group PLC, Mosimann’s Ltd, Royal Olympic Cruise Lines Inc., and Walker Green bank PLC which he also chaired. From 2002 to 2009 he was Deputy Chairman of Millennium & Copthorne Hotels PLC

Lord Thurso sat In the House of Lords from 1995 to 1999 as a Liberal Democrat and was active on business matters and Scottish affairs. Following the removal of the hereditary peers he was asked to stand for parliament and in 2001 was elected MP for Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross a seat he held until 2015. He was at various times a member of the Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet covering Scotland, Transport, and Business. From 2006 – 2015 he was a member of the treasury select committee, a period which covered the financial collapse and banking crisis. He served on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards 2012 – 2013; for the 2010 -15 parliament he chaired the House of Commons Finance Committee, was a member of the House of Commons Commission, and spokesman for the Commission. He was appointed to the Privy Council in 2014.

In 2016 Lord Thurso was appointed Chair of Visit Scotland, the national tourist body, a role he enjoys and undertakes enthusiastically as he says: “It combines my twin passions for service - the hospitality industry which is about looking after people’s leisure, and public service helping promote Scotland.” He also returned to the House of Lords through a hereditary peers bye election.

Lord Thurso Chairs his family companies in Caithness as well as The International Wine and Spirit Competition Ltd and The North Highland Regeneration Fund. He is a Trustee of the Castle of Mey. He received a Catey Award for his contribution to Tourism and an honorary doctorate from Oxford Brookes. If he has time to spare he loves gardening and fishing and enjoys great wines.

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The Moorings Hotel

Seanivan

Banavie

PH33 7LY

United Kingdom

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