Welcome to Yorkshire's 'business as usual' agenda for crunch board meeting criticised

Welcome to Yorkshire has published its agenda for a crunch meeting next week as its chief executive and chairman prepare to depart, but it has provided no information on exactly what will be discussed about the future of the organisation.

The emergency board meeting next Thursday night has been ordered after half of the eight-person board resigned following the announcement that chief executive James Mason is to leave the business on October 22.

Chairman Peter Box is also standing down at the organisation’s forthcoming AGM, with fellow board member Dan Bates also due to leave after that meeting as part of an agreement pre-dating the issues surrounding Mr Mason’s departure.

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Mr Box had told the Wakefield Express in September that the AGM would be on November 1 but this date is now in question as the company’s rules state three weeks is required to give notice to members of the time, place and date of the meeting – which is yet to be done. Welcome to Yorkshire did not respond when asked what the date for the AGM would be.

Welcome to Yorkshire chairman Peter Box.

The agenda states the board meeting next Thursday will include updates from the chairman and the chief executive, as well as items on governance and staffing. A discussions on finances will be held in private.

Susan Briggs, from the Tourism Network in Masham, received a letter from Mr Box earlier this week stating that the board meeting “will include a discussion about the future direction of Welcome to Yorkshire” but there is no direct mention of this on the agenda.

It follows Mr Box saying earlier this week it was “business as usual” despite the recent series of departures.

Mr Mason is leaving the organisation on Friday, the day after next week’s board meeting – following unspecified allegations about his conduct.

Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive James Mason

Welcome to Yorkshire has refused to provide any details about the allegations but board member Nicky Chance-Thompson resigned last month after stating she felt “very uncomfortable” about the handling of the case.

In a leaked resignation letter, she said “governance committee findings on the matter appear to have been dismissed, without the board having the opportunity to properly consider them”.

Three other board members also resigned in the same week.

Ms Briggs said: “The agenda paper effectively says ‘business as usual’. But business as usual hasn’t been good enough for months and probably years. It also doesn’t show any recognition of the state they are in and the concerns of the tourism industry.”

How to attend virtual meeting

Welcome to Yorkshire’s board meeting next Thursday will be held virtually and is open to the public to attend.

It is taking place at 5.30pm.

Anyone wishing to witness the meeting taking place has been asked to email [email protected] and request joining instructions.

Requests must be received by 5pm on Tuesday in advance of the meeting. The formal meeting follows “informal discussions” between board members held in private.

Once Mr Box steps down as chairman and Mr Bates leaves, Welcome to Yorkshire will only have two remaining board members – North Yorkshire Council leader Carl Les and Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones.

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