Four senior members of the Make It York staff have abruptly left the company under major restructuring plans.
They include head of business Andrew Sharp, head of Science City York Heather Niven, and head of PR and corporate communications Kay Hyde.
All four were told that they were being let go last week by new managing director of Make It York Sean Bullick, YorkMix understands, and left immediately.
Heather Niven was in her role for nearly 12 years, and Kay Hyde for 19.
The shock exits come as Make It York, the city’s destination management organisation, announces a big shake-up. The plans, including the staff losses, were approved by the Make It York Board.
Five become two
Five ‘brands’ are being merged into two at Make It York, the organisation has revealed.
Visit York will be the consumer-facing side of the organisation, continuing its focus on the tourism sector.
Make It York will focus on wider economic development. The work delivered primarily under the banners of VisitYork4Meetings, Make It York for Business and Science City York will be absorbed into the new combined teams, with businesses able to contact the core team across the organisation.
“Make It York was set up to deliver marketing, inward investment, city centre management and cultural development for the city under one roof,” said Sean, who replaced Steve Brown as MD at the start of 2019.
“Over our first four-year term, we found our feet and showed where we could make most impact, from supporting and delivering festivals like Bloom! and the city’s Christmas celebrations to managing the re-vamped Shambles Market.”
Coming in with fresh eyes, I am really excited by the opportunities out there and am confident that we have the expertise to build on the work that has already been done.
By bringing all our consumer activity together under the Visit York brand, and our commercial focus under a broader Make It York banner, it will be easier to support businesses, established and new to the city.
New roles created
As well as losing four members of staff, three new roles are being created.
YorkMix understands that those leaving the company have been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements preventing them from talking about their departures as a condition of receiving a pay-out.
Businesses working with Make It York will receive briefings on the changes over the coming weeks.
Sean described the restructure as phase two of Make It York’s development.
“Over the next four years, we will continue to grow our self-funded activities, though we will remain a not-for-profit company with any income generated above operating costs invested back into the city,” he said.