Paul Thandi, NEC Group
Paul Thandi is chief executive of the NEC Group, a position he has held for the last nine years. Before that he was the NEC’s commercial director. He represents the NEC Group on the boards of Marketing Birmingham and the CBI West Midlands Council. He is chair of Birmingham and Solihull Employment and Skills and vice-president of Solihull Chamber of Commerce. The NEC Group delivers more than £2 billion of economic investment to the West Midlands.
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 HdV Tony 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 an ambassador for Birmingham Civic Society and a committee member of the Colmore BID.
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 ICC. The revamp included a tavern-style bar and terrace. Mario Flanagan was appointed in 2013, having previously managed The Churchill Hotel in London. Before that he was at the Hyatt Regency in Johannesburg.
Nick Taplin, Sanguine
Sanguine Hospitality is a specialist hotel development company. With more than 25 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, Nick Taplin is its managing director. He oversees Sanguine’s acquisition and development portfolio. He also negotiates branding and concluded the deal involving the branding of several restaurants in conjunction with Marco Pierre White - one of which is in The Cube. He is chairman of Black and White Franchising with Marco Pierre White, offering MPW Steak House franchising opportunities to hoteliers.
Barry Clemo, Resorts World
Resorts World opened at the NEC last year. It features a 178-room four-star boutique hotel, 18 restaurants and bars and 51 shops in addition to a casino with 32 poker tables, a banqueting centre and an 11-screen cinema . The project is run by Genting Casinos UK and Barry Clemo is its operations and business development director. Before working for Genting he was marketing director at Punch Taverns, having previously worked for Ladbrokes, the Spirit Group, Bass Leisure and Gala Coral.
Nick Varney, Merlin
Nick Varney is chief executive of Merlin Entertainments, the international leisure attractions company which owns Alton Towers as well as Madame Tussauds, Warwick Castle and the Sea Life centres. 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. Last year - 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.
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. He directed and produced the award-winning feature length documentary The Last Projectionist, charting the history of independent cinema in Britain.
William Bryan, Drayton Manor Park
William Bryan became managing director of Staffordshire’s Drayton Manor Park last year, taking over the role from his father Colin who became chief executive after working at the family-managed theme park for nearly 50 years. William 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.
Mike Olley, Westside BID
Mike Olley is general manager of the Broad Street Business Improvement District, which has been broadened and re-christened to become the Westside BID including Brindley Place, Broadway Plaza and Five Ways. The job has its challenges, not least trying to limit the number of lap-dancing clubs on Birmingham’s Golden Mile, along with controlling beggars and persuading door-staff and policemen to smile.
Gregory Doran, RSC
Gregory Dolan is artistic director of the world-famous Royal Shakespeare Company. Next month, to mark Shakespeare’s birthday and the 400th anniversary of his death Gregory Doran will direct Shakespeare Live in collaboration with the BBC and hosted by David Tennant. He is an honorary Fellow of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and an honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Shakespeare Institute. He has also been awarded honorary doctorates by five universities. He began his career as an actor in 1987.