“Make It York will ensure that all sectors in York work together for the benefit of the city, its businesses and its residents.”
That is the promise of Steve Brown, the first managing director of a new, all-encompassing organisation which has one job – to bring people to York.
From April 2015, Make It York will take over responsibility for attracting tourists to the city, for overseeing our calendar of cultural events, and for luring new businesses to relocate here.
These roles were previously undertaken by Visit York, the city council and York Means Business respectively.
“It is a new way of working which sees one organisation delivering marketing, inward investment, city centre management and cultural development in a co-ordinated, efficient way,” said Mr Brown.
“The goal is clear: we need everyone to pull together to make York a better place to live, work, study, visit and do business.”
‘Brimming with potential’
Steve Brown, 53, comes from a regional press background and has worked in Newcastle, Birmingham and Leeds.
Steve Brown CV
1989-1995 Managing director, Hull Daily Mail Publications Ltd
1996-2009 Regional managing director, Trinity Mirror Group
2009-2010 Chief executive officer, Claverley Group
2010-2012 Division managing director – North, Johnston Press
2012-2014 Interim MD/CEO, Pragmatic Interim Management Services Ltd
Having led businesses for the Trinity Mirror Group, and Johnston Press – publishers of the Yorkshire Post among other papers – he then set up Pragmatic Interim Management Services Ltd, based at Nun Monkton, a company which offered “top quality MD/CEO level support” and had a 12 month contract with another regional press group, Northcliffe Media.
Make It York is a public-private partnership and Mr Brown has board experience of organisations run the same way, including Marketing Birmingham, the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative and The Baltic Centre.
“I am very pleased but not surprised that we have been able to recruit such a high calibre business person to lead our new company,” said Jane Lady Gibson, chair of Make It York.
“York and its surrounding area is an exceptional place and is brimming with potential.”
City of York Council also welcomed the appointment. Chief executive Kersten England said: “Drawing together city-wide expertise and harnessing that resource for York’s benefit is a complex task, so we are delighted to have an experienced business leader heading Make It York.”
Council leader James Alexander welcomed the “greater degree of integration across tourism, business development, culture and education” Make It York would bring.
The Make It York model
Make It York will operate as a limited company, wholly owned by City of York Council.
Business-led, and funded through a mix of public and private sector income, leaders believe it will be well placed to tap into additional income streams.
Operating on a not-for-profit basis, any income generated above operating costs will be invested back into the city.
It was set up after consultation with people in York’s tourism, culture, economic development and education sectors, and has widespread political and business support.