The Executive Board

The STA Executive Board

The Board is Responsible for the governance of STA Ltd, setting the strategic direction of the organisation and representing the industry on key strategic issues. 

Stephen Leckie, Chief Executive, Crieff Hydro and Chairman of STA

SL-03.14-e1420629246919-1024x683Stephen Leckie

Chief Executive, Crieff Hydro and Chairman of STA


Stephen Leckie is Chief Executive of Crieff Hydro and the fifth generation of his family to run this hotel and estate since the doors opened on Scotland’s maiden hydropathic establishment in 1868: the company is now the oldest trading registered company in Scotland.  Since taking the helm in 1994, Stephen has marshalled more than £50 million of investment to transform the property into a true leisure resort which competes on the international stage.

A £6million refurbishment of Peebles Hydro has recently been completed and most of the rooms have now been refurbished.

The family has expanded and Crieff Hydro Limited now own or manage the following nine hotels, along with the operation of The Peel Café at Glentress 

• Crieff Hydro Hotel

• Murraypark Hotel, Crieff

• Peebles Hydro Hotel

• Park Hotel, Peebles

• Isles of Glencoe Hotel, Ballachulish

• Ballachulish Hotel

• Kingshouse Hotel, Glencoe

• Green Hotel, Kinross

• Windlestrae Hotel, Kinross

Stephen is Chairman of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), the acknowledged lead tourism industry group, which leads on industry matters and acts as the ear and the representative the voice of the industry to all.

As well as being an active member of the British Hospitality Association and former Chairman of the Scotland Committee, he also chairs the Tourism Leadership Group (TLG) which is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the national tourism strategy Tourism Scotland 2020 (TS2020). The TLG is comprised of business leaders from across the tourism industry both in the private and public sector. The core purpose is to determine, recommend, monitor and review specific actions that will both ensure sustainability of the sector and deliver the strategic growth ambition aspired to.

Passionate about and committed to tourism in Scotland, in November 2013 Stephen was presented with the VisitScotland Scottish Thistle Award for his outstanding contribution to this industry.  Also, during 2014 he was presented with The Herald Scottish Family Business Award – Outstanding Contribution and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce / Scottish Business Honours – Entrepreneur of the Year.  In addition, in 2015 he was chosen as the Courier Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year.

President of the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce and former Chairman of the Crieff Community Council, he is a Board member of the Crieff Business Improvement District (BID) Steering Group and a Deputy Lieutenant for Perth and Kinross.

Stephen is also a Director and joint owner of Strathearn Engineering Ltd – Land Rover specialists based in Auchterarder.

Wife, Fiona, is a Director of Crieff Hydro and Head of Projects and Interiors, who, with the family of four, share Stephen’s varied interests. Amongst these he numbers classic cars and Land Rovers, piping, skiing, trials biking and sailing. 

Alison McRae, Senior Director, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

Alison McRaeAM web

Senior Director, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce


Alison joined the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce in August 2012 as Projects Director where she is responsible for strategic partnerships and overseeing projects activity which have a direct influence on the future prosperity of Glasgow. Areas of responsibility include employability & Developing Young Workforce Glasgow, circle economy, city centre and digital

Prior to returning to Glasgow, she had been Director of Destination Liverpool  since 2009; responsible for positioning Liverpool as a great place to visit, study, live, work and invest. She worked at the highest level with Liverpool’s key organisations and businesses and her directorate included the city’s tourism development, tourist information centre network and cruise terminal teams.

Previously, Alison had widespread experience working on projects such as GlobalScot network, International Destination Management, Austrian Tourism Investment Bank and Scottish Art Exhibition and Harris Tweed Fashion Shows in Brussels whilst running her own project management consultancy Blue Toucan.  She was also Project Director for Homecoming Scotland 2009 under the Chairmanship of Allan Burns (formerly Diageo Scotland) where she designed the vision and strategy and led the development phase of this national project.

Alison has broadcast experience with BBC Radio Scotland, having researched and presented a series on ‘Wealth Creators’ as well being co-host of MacAulay and Co with Fred MacAulay for a time. She was the first woman to read Architecture at Trinity College, Cambridge University and has undertaken numerous personal development programmes including at Harvard Business School and the Disney Institute.

Alison has a passion for art and design, travelled widely and a wide range of personal interests including yoga and music.

Calum Ross, Proprietor, Loch Melfort Hotel & Chairman of UKHospitality (Scotland)

Calum Ross 255Calum Ross

Proprietor, Loch Melfort Hotel & Chairman of UKHospitality (Scotland)

Calum has been involved in the Hospitality industry for nearly 28 years and for the majority of that time he has been employed in food & beverage Calum Rosssupply. Starting as a salesman in Scotland, he went on to gain considerable international experience of the foodservice/hospitality industry, the last decade of which was at board level spanning roles from Divisional Director, Managing Director UK ( with European Customer Development and Marketing responsibilities) to Chief Operating Officer, Unilever Foodsolutions, Latin America. During this time Calum sat on the boards of Unilever UK, Foodsolutions Europe and latterly Foodsolutions Global.

In September 2008, with his wife Rachel, he fulfilled a long held ambition in returning to Scotland and to become an ‘owner operator’, purchasing the 25 Bedroom Loch Melfort Hotel and 2 AA Rosette Asknish Bay Restaurant, near Oban.

In April 2012 Calum was elected Chairman of Argyll and The Isles Strategic Tourism Partnership but subsequently resigned to become a director of Argyll & the Isles Tourism Co-operative Ltd, the delivery vehicle of the partnership. Calum is also Chairman, UKHospitality (Scotland), a Director of UKHospitality, a director of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, Chairman of the Arduaine Garden Support Group and Vice-Chair of the Oban and Lorn Tourism Association. Within the STA Calum is currently helping to lead the development of the Destinations Action plan within the National Tourism Strategy, TS2020. Calum was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality in 2008.

Calum, Rachel, 6 year old Hugh and 17 month old Alex, live in the hotel and enjoy looking after their highland cows, lambs, ducks and hens who now occupy the hotel grounds. He also plays fiddle in the Chartroom Ceilidh Band a couple of times a month. In the summer, paddling in the sea with the boys, catching crabs at the beach and seafood BBQs take up any spare time!

David Lonsdale , Director of Scottish Retail Consortium

David Lonsdale 225David Lonsdale

Director, Scottish Retail Consortium


David Lonsdale is the Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, and Head of Devolved Government Affairs for the British Retail Consortium (covering Scotland, Northern Ireland & Wales). He joined the organisation in January 2014. Prior to this he was Assistant Director at CBI Scotland for 8 years, and previously worked at the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, rising from Policy Officer to become Head of Policy & Public Affairs. He previously worked in Aberdeen for a leading firm of commercial insurance brokers.

David’s responsibilities at the SRC involve representing and promoting the interests of the retail industry and member companies to government, policy makers and opinion formers on a wide range of public policy issues.

He is a board trustee of Workplace Chaplaincy Scotland, and served as a member of the Church of Scotland’s 2011/12 Commission on the Purposes of Economic Activity and as Chair of the Homes for Scotland 2011 Quality Awards.


Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport

Gordon Dewar

Chief Executive, Edinburgh Airport


Gordon Dewar took up the post of Chief Executive in July 2012. Under his stewardship, Edinburgh Airport has consolidated itself as one of Europe’s leading airports with being named third Best European Airport of its size by the ACI for an unprecedented third time. Rebranding the airport as the place where ‘Scotland meets the world’, Gordon has overseen airlines including Delta, Qatar, Etihad, Air Canada and Turkish Airlines commence services at Edinburgh, driving passenger numbers over 11m for 2015 bringing ever larger numbers of International visitors to Scotland.

Gordon spent 4 years with BAA running Glasgow and Edinburgh airports through periods of extensive investments in terminal capacity and passenger growth from 2007 to 2010.  He then spent 2 years as Chief Executive at Bahrain International Airport overhauling the facilities and operations there

He has held a number of senior positions with leading transport operators, including commercial, general management and business development roles.  Prior to this he spent 10 years in Transport Consultancy.

Henk Berits, Business Development Director at Triage

Henk pic Oct 17

Henk Berits

Director of Business Development and Marketing

His early career began after graduation from the Free University of Amsterdam and post-graduate studies in Business Management and Marketing. Following consultancy in the European packaging industry, Henk worked at a senior level in sales, marketing and business development in a number of blue chip companies, including DHL, Worldwide Express and Hewden Stewart PLC. The past 9.5 years Henk was the Marketing and Commercial Director for the National Trust for Scotland, under his leadership he strengthened the Brand and its membership substantially. Henk was also involved in a number of start-up ventures and is well-known in the Scottish business community for his experience in developing commercial teams and taking forward change management. Henk is also a member of the Board/Director of Destination Stirling and District Stirling Tourism (The Wallace Monument) Ltd. Henk lives in Gargunnock with his wife and 2 children. 

Freda Newton, MD of Loch Ness by Jacobite

Freda Newton 255Freda Newton, MBE

MD of Loch Ness by Jacobite

Freda Newton is the owner and managing director of leading cruise tour experience Loch Ness by Jacobite. Since 2002 she has grown the business to become a must-do activity for tourists across the globe. Last year the company welcomed a record 200,000 visitors to the loch.

Freda gained a BA in Business Studies from Napier College, Edinburgh before joining Rapsons Coaches Limited as Executive Director from 1991 to 1997. In 1996 she was seconded to National Express Group Plc as General Manager for Highland Country Buses Limited and was then promoted to Managing Director of Scottish Citylink Coaches Limited.

After the sale of Scottish Citylink in 1998, Freda returned north to become Managing Director of Rapsons Coaches, where she oversaw the expansion of the group. After successfully helping to secure the Highland Region transport contracts for a five-year term Freda resigned from her position at Rapsons in 2001, going on to purchase Jacobite Cruises a year later.

Freda is been a founding member of Destination Loch Ness, the local Destination Management Organisation. She also served as both Director and Chair of HIE Inverness and East Highland, the Local Economic Enterprise Company for the Inner Moray Firth area.

Recent accolades:

·         Awarded MBE for services to Economic and Community Development in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 2017.

·         Received the Silver Thistle award at the Scottish Thistle Awards 2017 for her pivotal role in the region’s tourism industry.

·         Presented the SCDI Highlands & Islands Chair's Award for Outstanding Business Achievement, 2017.

·         Named Highland Business Leader of the Year at the 2015 Highland Business Awards

James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink

James Withers

James Withers

Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink



Prior to joining the organisation, James was Chief Executive of the National Farmers Union Scotland and spent 12 years there working for the

His career at NFUS began as parliamentary adviser in 1999, after completing a degree at Aberdeen University. After heading up NFUS’snation’s farming industry, and representing the view of the agricultural industry and wider rural Scotland to Government and other key decision-makers.

James is a member of the Scotland 2020 Climate Group, advising Government on the achievement of its emission reduction targets. He also sits on the Homecoming Strategic Steering Group and working groups for the Ryder Cup & Commonwealth Games. He was a member of the Scottish Government Leadership Forum from 2008-2011, developing the National Food & Drink Policy, and James currently chairing a review of the Scottish dairy sector on behalf of Ministers, which is due to report in Spring 2013. strategy and communications function for five years, he became Deputy Chief Executive in 2005 and then Chief Executive in 2008. After three years at the helm of NFUS, he moved to Scotland Food & Drink in September 2011, after three years on the organisation’s Executive Group.


John Henderson, Founder of Born in the Borders

XXXJohn Henderson

Founder of Born in the Borders


John Henderson founded Born in the Borders Brewery in 2011. The brewery creates real ale using barley from the family farm on which it is based. The brewery’s ales now feature in over 250 pubs from St Andrews in the North to Darlington in the South.

The “plough-to- pint” ethos behind the company has firmly established it as a major player on the Scottish micro-brewing scene, and led to the launch of a provenance based visitor centre in 2014. The company has also taken over the running of a pub in nearby Ancrum, and launched 2 new cafes along the Borders Railway. Born in the Borders has won Visit Scotland Thistle Awards for innovation, Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards for local sourcing, SIBA awards for its beers and Scottish Creative Awards for its marketing.

John is also Chairman of the Scottish Borders Food and Drink Network, Vice Chair of the Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership, and sits on the steering group of the Midlothian and Borders Tourism Action Group. In 2015, he won Visit Scotland’s Regional Ambassador award for the Lothian and Borders Region.

Prior to Born in the Borders, John worked as creative director in advertising. 

Martin Bennett, Senior Associate at Clyde & Co (Scotland) LLP

Martin BennetMartin Bennett,

Senior Associate, Clyde & Co (Scotland) LLP


Martin is a Senior Associate in the Scottish Real Estate team at Clyde & Co.  He specialises in the retail and the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors, giving advice to national and local clients on both commercial property and licensing matters. He is the appointed Scottish solicitor for the British Holiday & Home Parks Association, and is also actively involved with the industry charity, HIT Scotland, currently sitting as a member of their Committee tasked with organizing their flagship Emerging Talent Conference each year.

When not hard at work, Martin enjoys spending time with his family and coaches Minis rugby at Linlithgow Rugby Club.


​Marshall Dallas, CEO of Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Marshall Dallas


CEO of Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Marshall Dallas joined the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) at the end of 2014 spearheading a new direction for Scotland’s leading conference venue and hitting record profit, ahead of schedule, in 2016. During this period, Marshall led the EICC into winning a series of UK and international industry awards and generating over £50 million for the local economy.

The EICC’s newly developed mission is “to create an environment which inspires ideas that change the world”.  The venue also aims to be one of the most sustainable and accessible conference centres on the international scene. 

Marshall and the team have welcomed some of the UK and world’s largest associations to the EICC, while hosting leading world figures like former President of the United States, Barack Obama, who made his first major public speaking appearance since leaving the White House at the EICC in May of 2017.

With a background in hotels, events and hospitality and as an award-winning Director, Marshall has consistently demonstrated success in financial management, achieving strategic objectives and developing a wide range of businesses with turnovers ranging from £500k to over £30m per annum. 

When not at work, Marshall is a keen open water swimmer and can be seen swimming all year round in all weather conditions in some of Scotland’s most beautiful Lochs and coastlines 

Rebecca Brooks, Managing Director at Abbey Tours Scotland

RBRebecca Brooks

Managing Director, Abbey Tours Scotland


Rebecca Brooks is a Modern History graduate of St Andrews University and has worked in the tourism sector for 16 years.

Formerly a Director of JAC Travel and now Managing Director of Abbey Tours Scotland, Rebecca has worked in inbound tourism to Scotland since 1997 and joined Abbey Tours in 2010. Abbey Tours Scotland has an anticipated turnover of £8 million in 2013 and employs 16 permanent multilingual staff. The company was set up in late 2008 and offers the full range of services in Scotland for leisure groups, FIT/online and corporate travel. The Company works exclusively with the Travel Trade. Abbey Tours Scotland is owned and managed by the same group of people who originally set up Abbey Tours Limited; the largest privately owned incoming Tour Operator in Ireland which was founded in 1978. Marketing Scotland abroad, on a business to business basis and providing a full range of holiday services in Scotland for visiting tourists.

As well as being a Director of Abbey Tours Scotland, Rebecca is also actively involved in the industry in Scotland and is a member of the Scottish Tourism Alliance Board and was also Chair of the SDMA – Scottish Destination management Association from 2009-2013.

Scott Inglis, Commercial Director of Fishers Laundry Group


Scott Inglis

Commercial Director, Fishers Laundry Group

Scott Inglis has commercial and sales responsibility for Fishers Laundry Group which is Scotland’s largest commercial laundry and textile rental business, servicing the hospitality sector. 

Fishers washes, dries and irons 2 million pieces of linen every week, with an annual turnover of around £36 million.

 Scott has taken personal responsibility for positioning the Fishers business as an integral, and vital, part of the Scottish tourism industry and for ensuring that Fishers plays a full role in the sector. Passionate about the role that Fishers plays in supporting this industry, initiatives he has spearheaded have included transforming the livery on Fishers’ familiar fleet of trucks, which now display images of iconic Scottish tourism destinations. Fishers has also been headline sponsor of the Scottish Thistle Awards – Scotland’s tourism industry “Oscars” – for the last 2 years.

Prior to taking on the role of Commercial Director in 2014, Scott was Fishers’ Finance Director for over two years and, as a consequence, has a deep understanding of the financial levers that are important to a business operating within the Scottish hospitality sector.

A member of Fishers’ board of directors, Scott is also a Scottish committee member of the Scottish Textile Services Association.”

Click below to view the latest minutes from the STA Board meetings: