One of the most recognised and respected figures in Scotland’s hospitality industry, Stephen Carter OBE, was tonight (Thursday 18th April) thanked for his enormous contribution to the Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT), a Scottish based charity which raises funds to support & encourage excellence in the hospitality industry.
At the HIT Industry Dinner in Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel, Carter announced that he was stepping down as chair after 12 years at the helm of the organisation, which has raised in excess of 10million, to inspire individuals to be the best they can be within Scottish hospitality
This is achieved through practical support; including bursary scholarships, emerging talent scholarships, industry events and conferences. To date, 1054 scholarships and 10,000 bursaries have been awarded by HIT to people at all stages in their careers in hospitality.
Carter, who was awarded his OBE in 2009 for services to the hospitality industry, is remaining as a trustee of HIT and will be succeeded as Chair by Paddy Crerar, who has served as a Trustee for the last 12 years. Crerar is the Chief Executive of Crerar Hotel Group Ltd which he founded in 2006 and also holds board positions with numerous charitable and public sector organisations, including VisitScotland where he is a non-executive director.
The position of Deputy Chair is being taken up by Angela Vickers, Managing Director of Apex Hotels and two new trustees are joining the Board: Ruaridh McDonald Sales and Marketing Director of McDonald Hotels and Bernard Murphy, General Manager of The Gleneagles Hotel.
Commenting on his retirement as Chairman, Stephen Carter said: “When I first became involved in HIT, 14 years ago, hospitality wasn’t considered an attractive industry to work in and given what it has to offer and its huge contribution to the Scottish economy, this was a sad state of affairs. With some very notable exceptions, Scottish hospitality didn’t enjoy a great reputation and that was mainly because the industry had a pretty poor perception of itself.
“The transformation since then has been astounding and HIT has played no small part in this. By sending our scholars to centres of excellence such as the Jumeirah International properties in Dubai and The Disney Institute in Orlando and to international hospitality schools like Lausanne and Cornell, we have engendered pride in the industry and developed in the scholars, an aspiration to achieve excellence, which is shared with all of their colleagues when they return home.
“My involvement in HIT has been one of the most satisfying aspects of my career to date and I’m looking forward to my on-going work as a trustee. It gives me enormous pride that we have attracted such high calibre individuals within the industry to take up the Chair, Deputy Chair and new trustee posts and I think it’s indicative of the respect HIT has gained through our activities over the years. Their combined experience spans the best of what Scottish hospitality has to offer and will be invaluable in driving industry standards even higher.”
Commenting on his appointment as Chair, Paddy Crerar said: “Stephen and I have worked together with HIT Scotland for a dozen years, so in many ways it’s going to be very much business as usual with HIT. Our focus remains firmly with helping people join and progress to be all they can be in our great industry however, with the depth and calibre of people now supporting HIT, both through our committees and at Trustee level, we have the opportunity and appetite to go further. Of course, what we have achieved and can still achieve in the future relies on the generosity of all those involved in our continuous fund-raising efforts. We have more industry events than ever this year and are planning fresh initiatives for 2014 and beyond . One of our key strengths has been the creation of a global network of “friends” who are eager to inspire people in the industry to be all they can be and use HIT Scotland as a strong channel to communicate that desire – we will be looking to grow and strengthen that network”
“It is also our intention to continue to widen the geographical spread of our events, which currently cover all the major cities in Scotland and London. We recognise a demand from more rural locations with often smaller hospitality businesses - we want to encourage them to tap into what we have to offer and in turn I know , as an Oban boy, just how passionate such businesses are when it comes to hospitality
“Of course the Chairman and Trustees have the easy job - the real credit for making all of this happen has to be with all of the volunteers and supporters across the country but special note has to go to David Cochrane, our tireless CEO, for converting the cash into action – as a team they do an incredible job.”
Summing up, Paddy Crerar said: “With the winning years ahead; 2014 Homecoming , the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and many more great hospitality industry events, this is the most exciting time to be working in Scottish hospitality. It’s a great chance for us,the industry, to practically demonstrate how much Stephen and HIT have achieved over the years.”