Tourism Ireland Appoints New Chief Executive

10 Jun 2009

Tourism Ireland today announced the appointment of Niall Gibbons as its new Chief Executive.  The announcement was made by Tourism Ireland Chairman, Hugh Friel, following an extensive, competitive recruitment process. 

Mr Gibbons, who takes up the post with immediate effect, has been the Director of Corporate Services and Company Secretary of Tourism Ireland since 2002.  He replaces Paul O’Toole who has taken up the position of Director General at FÁS.

Mr Gibbons played a key role in the formation of Tourism Ireland and its subsequent development over the past seven years.  During that time, his responsibilities have included eMarketing, Regional Marketing, Access Development and Customer Relationship Management, in addition to Finance, Human Resources and Industry Communications.  He has also had responsibility for Northern Ireland matters, which are a core element of Tourism Ireland’s remit.

“Niall Gibbons takes the lead at Tourism Ireland at a time of unprecedented challenge for global tourism and for the industry on the island of Ireland.  His task now is to lead the organisation and its industry partners through the current difficulties, by marketing aggressively to secure the business that is out there for now, while also positioning the destination for better times.  Flexibility, innovation and responsiveness will be called for, together with marketing innovation and excellence”, said Hugh Friel, Chairman of Tourism Ireland.

The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Martin Cullen TD welcomed the appointment of Niall Gibbons as the new Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Ireland.  Minister Cullen said: "Niall has done outstanding work with Tourism Ireland in his previous role as Director of Corporate Services and Company Secretary.  Niall is taking on this new responsibility at a difficult time for tourism globally but I know he will meet this challenge, drawing on his experiences in both the private and public sector and the enthusiastic and pragmatic manner in which he has carried out his work to date.  I look forward to the continuation of the excellent working relationship that exists between my Department, our counterparts in Northern Ireland and Tourism Ireland into the challenging future.”

Northern Ireland’s Tourism Minister, Arlene Foster MLA, commented: “The Northern Ireland Executive has identified tourism as an important driver of economic growth for the region and has set tough targets for its agencies.  Tourism Ireland plays a vital role in this by delivering overseas tourism.  Niall has worked closely with my Department, with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the tourism industry as a whole over the past number of years.  I am confident that he is best placed to meet the challenges facing all of us in these tough economic times.  I look forward to continued close co-operation with Tourism Ireland as Niall leads the organisation into the future.”

Niall Gibbons said: “I am delighted to be appointed to the role of Chief Executive at Tourism Ireland and welcome the trust that is placed in me at a time when there are more challenges than ever facing this €4 billion industry.  Partnership with the tourism industry across the island of Ireland will be more critical than ever in facing up to those challenges and to delivering business now and into the future.”

Mr Gibbons has played a central role in decision-making at Tourism Ireland, including the preparation and implementation of Corporate and Operating Plans over seven years.  A key aspect of his role has involved maintaining close working relationships with a wide range of stakeholders on the island of Ireland including those in the areas of politics, the tourism industry and the media. 

Prior to his appointment to Tourism Ireland, he held senior roles in the private and public sector.  He is a business graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.


Further information:
Sinéad Grace, Media & PR Manager, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 01 476 3492/ 087 685 9027



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