No comment on VisitScotland chief's 'forced departure'

Image caption,
Philip Riddle became VisitScotland chief executive in 2001

The new chairman of tourism quango VisitScotland has refused to comment on claims the body's long-serving chief executive has been forced out.

The Sunday Herald newspaper has reported that Philip Riddle, CEO since 2001, is leaving after losing the confidence of his colleagues.

Chairman Mike Cantlay refused to "gossip" on the report.

He said Mr Riddle had been involved in a new marketing campaign which would deliver "big time" for Scotland.

The Sunday Herald claimed Mr Riddle was informed by Dr Cantlay that he no longer had a future at VisitScotland, which oversees marketing Scotland's £4bn-a-year tourism sector.

'Power struggle'

The incident followed what the newspaper described as a "boardroom power struggle".

VisitScotland is seen as having a vital role to play in economic recovery, after the recession and, more recently, the flight disruption caused by the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.

Asked about the re-shuffle, Dr Cantlay told BBC Scotland's Politics Show: "I'm not going to gossip about newspapers", and later added: "I'm simply not talking about personnel matters."

The chairman went on: "I've just arrived in post and I think VisitScotland, led by Philip and his team, are prepared to deliver big-time for Scotland this year."

Dr Cantlay said the agency was poised to embark on a £100m marketing drive, adding: "The industry want to know that VisitScotland is out there fighting for them aggressively in this such unpredictable period, when you don't know what's in the air in terms of flights, and I hope to be able to bring confidence that we're doing just that."

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