Former BBC Sport presenter replaces Verity as Welcome to Yorkshire CEO

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James Mason

Former BBC Sport presenter James Mason has succeeded Sir Gary Verity as the new chief executive of troubled tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire.

Verity who resigned in March after an investigation ruled he had made "errors of judgement regarding his expenses". He had also faced allegations of bullying.

Mason, 41, will take up his new role early next year and said he "can't wait to get started". Welcome to Yorkshire, which receives around half its funding from the public sector, would have run out of money and been unable to pay staff in September had it not taken a £500,000 loan from North Yorkshire County Council.

Mason's salary will be £130,000 - more than £100,000 less than Verity's £243,000. Mason worked as a journalist and presenter for BBC Sports from 2002 to 2014, before becoming chief operating officer of hometown football club Bradford City for four years.

He was consultant chief executive at Rochdale FC for a brief spell between October 2018 and January 2019 before his most recent role, as chief operating officer of First Point USA, a global sports agency which helps talented athletes secure scholarships to American universities. 

He said: “I have been fortunate during my career to fulfil so many of my childhood dreams, from broadcasting on national radio and television, to running my beloved Bradford City Football Club.

“To lead an organisation responsible for putting Yorkshire on the world map is an honour. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am enormously proud of my Yorkshire roots and I have continued to live in the county even when work has taken me around the globe.

“I’m looking forward to working with the team at Welcome to Yorkshire to continue to build this country’s reputation as the best place in the world to visit, live and work. I know the organisation has been through a challenging period and I understand the need for transparency going forward.

“I have every confidence that by working together, and with the support of our partners and stakeholders, we can regain trust and rebuild relationships. Looking forward there are opportunities for digital growth and to engage with the Yorkshire community across the world to really showcase the county’s modern-day diversity. Welcome to Yorkshire, and Yorkshire as a whole, has a hugely exciting future."