rachel mcqueen Marketing Lancashire

McQueen spent five years heading the organisation. Credit: Marketing Lancashire

McQueen departs as council takes control of Marketing Lancashire

Rachel McQueen is to leave her role as chief executive of the destination management organisation, whlle remaining staff will be transferred to Lancashire County Council.

LCC said it had made a strategic decision to reposition Marketing Lancashire “so it is more closely aligned to the shared vision set out in the Lancashire 2050 framework”. This was signed off by the council’s cabinet earlier this month.

In a statement, McQueen said: “As the county moves forward with a shared vision, defined within the Lancashire 2050 framework, it is critical that the work of Marketing Lancashire is strategically aligned in order to support the delivery of that vision, and ensure that the value of the visitor economy is highlighted as a key part of the overall ambition.

“In order to achieve that goal, the decision has been taken to reposition the organisation, and for the staff and duties of Marketing Lancashire to be transferred to Lancashire County Council. It is a common model for DMOs [destination marketing organisations] to be run from within host local authorities, and Marketing Lancashire will continue to deliver all the support services and activities for partners, stakeholders and ambassadors that we have done previously.

“As part of this transition, I have decided that it is the right time for me to step down as chief executive. I have been working with the Marketing Lancashire team, with the board and with colleagues at Lancashire County Council to deliver an effective handover. I have no doubt that Lancashire remains in a strong position to apply for LVEP [local visitor economy partnership] status, and I wish the team all the very best of luck as they continue to focus 100% on the promotion of Lancashire as a place to live, work, visit, study and invest.

“I will always be a huge supporter of Lancashire and I would like to thank all the people who have welcomed me, supported me and inspired me over the last five years (not to mention fed and watered me!). Above all, I would like to thank the Marketing Lancashire team for their passion and their dedication. I leave Lancashire in the best of hands, and look forward to cheering on from the sidelines as the county continues to go from strength to strength.”

McQueen has been working on an orderly handover, and will leave this week. Vikki Harris, marketing & partnerships director, will step up to lead the organisation.

Marketing Lancashire was originally formed in February 2004 as the Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board Limited, but was rebranded as Marketing Lancashire in May 2012. It is wholly owned by Lancashire County Council.

McQueen joined as chief executive in spring 2018 after time with Marketing Cheshire and Hemisphere Design & Marketing – prior to this, she held various key roles at Midas and Marketing Manchester.

Over her time with Marketing Lancashire, she launched the Lancashire Business Ambassadors programme and commissioned the promotional film ‘We Are Lancashire’.

LCC said that one option for how Marketing Lancashire will function is the establishment of a reshaped board that is best suited to support the submission of a LVEP application, which are accredited tourism boards that act as a one-stop shop for visitors to find all they need to know about a local area.

The council said that discussions are being set up with the board to work collaboratively on these options as part of the transition process, recognising the contribution of private sector engagement and leadership.

Cllr Aidy Riggott, LCC cabinet member for economic development and growth, said: “Marketing Lancashire has always been wholly owned by Lancashire County Council and taking this course of action will enable us to direct it so that it is aligned with the shared vision for Lancashire.

“It also helps to ensure our wider commitment to working in partnership for the benefit of the whole county, as set out in the Lancashire 2050 framework. Doing this will mean we are all aligned to support projects to get the best for Lancashire.”

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