He came in to shake things up – but after only two years in charge of Make It York, Sean Bullick has gone.
His departure as managing director was announced today.
Sean said he had decided that the time is right for him to go. “I have enjoyed my two years as MD of Make It York but I have decided it’s time to take on a new challenge.
“Of course running an organisation like Make It York during the pandemic has been difficult and in particular I’d like to thank all my colleagues for the support they have given me.”
In the light of Sean’s departure, Greg Dyke, chair of Make It York, said he will take a more active role – at least for now.
“We thank Sean for the contribution he has made to Make It York over the past two years and wish him well,” Greg said.
“In the short term I will be spending more time on Make It York business. This will include chairing the weekly management group meetings.”
Ups and downs
Sean was appointed as successor to the first boss of Make It York, Steve Brown.
He was said to be the ‘overwhelming choice’ of the interview board, due to his skills and experience.
Before joining Make It York, Sean spent 12 years running Newcastle NE1 – the city’s business improvement district.
His tenure was marked by controversy and challenges.
Six months in, four senior staff had been shown the door in a major restructuring. They included head of business Andrew Sharp, head of Science City York Heather Niven, and head of PR and corporate communications Kay Hyde.
The following year the head of tourism arm Visit York, Paul Whiting, left his job ‘by mutual consent’.
Sean wanted to “dial up the city’s vibrancy and creativity to help ensure there is a wow factor here 365 days of the year”.
He also had big plans for Shambles Market. He said it could become an international destination, and even have its own roof.
But he fell out with market traders over the imposition of Christmas trading hours. They collected a 1,500 name petition criticising security restrictions which meant some stallholders forced to work 16-hour days.
His second year was dominated by the pandemic. Another petition, started by business leaders unhappy with the way MIY was run, called on the council to close it down.
Instead City of York Council backed Make It York, bailing it out and renewing its contract for three years.
But not with its boss of two years at the helm, it transpires.