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Ten years of success signals time to move on

After ten years with People 1st, the leading skills and workforce development charity for the hospitality, passenger transport, travel, tourism and retail industries, Brian Wisdom has announced his intention to move on from his position as CEO in the latter half of 2014.

Brian will remain active within People 1st as an ambassador for the business; his new role will provide continuity and an extended handover period for the organisation while allowing him his ambition to pursue other non-executive opportunities.

Having led the organisation since its inception, Brian commented on his decision: “The past ten years have seen huge changes in the skills landscape and I am extremely proud of everything the People 1st team has achieved. It now seems like the right time to move on and let the business look at what it wants to achieve in the next ten years.

“We’ve vastly increased the number of apprenticeships within the sector, with more than 60000 apprentices gaining qualifications in 2012/2013, and have worked with employers and providers to help increase the links between them.

“We have made great strides towards diversity through Women 1st and we’ve also helped the UK enter the top 10 destinations worldwide for the warmth of its visitor welcome for the first time.

“With such great achievements and the success we’ve had with improving the image and professionalism of our industries, it’s the right time to move on.”

People 1st chairman, David Fairhurst, said: “Brian has been a fantastic leader for the past ten years and is a highly respected figure, both within People 1st and across the industries that it represents.

“Naturally we respect his decision to move on from his position as CEO, however we’re looking forward to continue working with him in his role as an ambassador for People 1st.

“During his time as CEO, Brian has always taken advantage of every opportunity available, expanding the portfolio of industries we work across from hospitality, leisure, travel, and tourism to include both passenger transport and retail in the past few years.

“Under Brian’s leadership we now represent the entire tourism and visitor economy, which makes up one in five employees in the UK and contributes £143bn to the economy each year. “This has been especially important in the past few years as People 1st has moved from a grant funding system to becoming a fully self-sustainable business. Brian’s vision and determination have ensured that, as he steps aside, he will hand over an organisation that is well prepared for its next phase of growth.

“The People 1st executive team is first class and Simon Tarr (currently chief operating officer) will be appointed to lead them as interim managing director while the board considers the organisation’s long term strategy. People 1st looks forward to sharing these plans later in the year.”

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