business

Birmingham Post Power 250 2017: Hospitality & Leisure

Key players from the business tourism, conferences and family days out sectors all feature

Ian Bennett, operations director of Resorts World Birmingham

Ian Bennett, Resorts World

Resorts World opened at the NEC in 2015. The £150 million complex features a 178-room four-star boutique hotel, 18 restaurants and bars and more than 50 shops in addition to Britain's biggest casino with 32 poker tables, a banqueting centre and an 11-screen cinema with an IMAX screen. The project is run by Genting Casinos UK and Ian Bennett is its operations director. Before taking up his current post last year, Mr Bennett was commercial director of Genting Casinos UK. He was commercial director of Bowlplex and played a key role in turning that business around before its sale to The Original Bowling Company in 2015.

William Bryan, Drayton Manor Park

William Bryan became managing director of Staffordshire's Drayton Manor Park in 2015, taking over the role from his father Colin who became chief executive after working at the family-managed theme park for nearly 50 years. Mr Bryan has worked at Drayton Manor for more than 20 years, witnessing its recent expansion to include a hotel and the popular Thomas Land. He went to Wylde Green College and Birmingham College of Food. His grandfather George Bryan founded Drayton Manor Park in 1950. He died in 2013 aged 92.

Tony Elvin, Hotel du Vin

Tony Elvin has been general manager of the 66-bedroom Hotel du Vin in Birmingham city centre since 2012. Hotel du Vin is one of the UK's leading chains of boutique hotels. Before he joined the hotel, Mr Elvin was general manager at the De Vere Village Urban Resort in Solihull where he won several awards including the Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Customer Service award. He is a trustee and ambassador for Birmingham Civic Society and a member of the Colmore BID Outstanding Places working group.

Mario Flanagan, general manager of Hyatt Regency (left), with Hotel du Vin's general manager Tony Elvin

Mario Flanagan, Hyatt Regency

Mario Flanagan is general manager of the 319-bedroom Hyatt Regency hotel. The Broad Street hotel underwent a £6 million refurbishment in 2014 in order to build on the business brought in by major events at the neighbouring ICC. The revamp included a tavern-style bar and terrace. Mr Flanagan was appointed in 2013, having previously managed The Churchill Hotel in London for three years and, before that, he was at the Hyatt Regency in Johannesburg. Last year, the Hyatt Regency was bought out by a Middle East investment group.

James Hill, Hampton Manor

Hampton Manor in Shadowbrook Lane, Hampton-in-Arden, was a grand house in its day and latterly a Grade II-listed care home until it fell into semi-dereliction. It was rescued by James Hill in 2008 and now it is a thriving restaurant - Peels - with a 15-room boutique hotel in 45 acres of landscaped grounds. The restaurant gets its name from prime minister Sir Robert Peel - this was his country estate. The manor was built in 1855. Funding for the restoration came from Mr Hill's parents Derrick and Janet when they sold the Pear Tree Inn, in Worcester. The £2.5 million turnover restaurant, under head chef Rob Palmer, has a Michelin star and four AA rosettes.

Tom Lawes, Electric Cinema

Film director and composer Tom Lawes is best known for renovating the Electric Cinema in Station Street, Birmingham, which is the oldest working cinema in the UK. Birmingham-born, he is also musical director of The Electric Cinema Film Orchestra, the UK's first in-house film orchestra, and he has composed music for SEGA video games, as well as the theme music for the BBC's All Quiet on the Preston Front. He directed and produced the award-winning feature length documentary The Last Projectionist, charting the history of independent cinema in Britain. In total, he has more than 70 film, TV and game credits to his name.

Owner of The Electric Tom Lawes behind the screen showing some of the cinema's original features(Image: John James)

Mark Sergeant, Genting UK

Mark Sergeant is group managing director of Genting UK and has operational responsibility for all of Genting UK's retail, casino and interactive businesses. He leads the team operating the casinos and providing operational support. He also has responsibilities for Genting's products and customer service. He joined Genting in April 2016, having previously been managing director of Gala Casinos and before that chief executive of Bowlplex, a tenpin bowling company, part of the Hollywood Bowl group.

Paul Thandi, NEC Group

Paul Thandi is chief executive of the NEC Group, a position he has held for the last ten years. Before that, he was the NEC's commercial director. The NEC Group delivers more than £2 billion of economic investment to the West Midlands. It owns the catering group Amadeus and ticketing agency The Ticket Factory. In March, the NEC Group posted a 17.9 per cent rise in revenue. Mr Thandi received the Business Entrepreneur of the Year award at the 2017 Birmingham Post Business Awards.

Nick Varney, Merlin Entertainments

Nick Varney has 25 years of experience in the visitor attractions industry and is chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, the international company which owns Alton Towers as well as Madame Tussauds, Warwick Castle and the Sea Life centres. It is a quoted company with more than 100 attractions in 23 countries. In 1999, he led the management buyout of Vardon Attractions to form Merlin Entertainments. In 2005, he initiated the process which led to its acquisition by Blackstone. In 2015 - a busy one for him following the accident on The Smiler ride at Alton Towers – he took on the role of chairman of the British Hospitality Association, the members' organisation for the tourism and hospitality industry.

View full mobile page