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Gretna Green Appoints New Executive Chairman

Press Release

  • John Holliday starts with immediate effect; with a growth agenda for one of Scotland’s oldest attractions.
  • Executive with a track record of business growth; local and global.
  • It comes just hours after the company’s Gretna Hall Hotel won Scotland’s Best Hotel Team at the Prestige Awards.

Gretna Green, the world-famous weddings, retail and hotels business, today announces that it has appointed John Holliday as Executive Chairman.

He joins Gretna Green, after 20 years in London, working at four blue-chip media brands including ITV, BBC, Sky News and Bloomberg. The 53-year-old takes over the full-time role from Alasdair Houston, who passed away in June 2021.

Gretna Green family director, Lucy Houston, said: “As a seasoned professional, John brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our team. He has previously served in senior roles at high-profile companies and has a proven track record of driving growth, implementing effective strategies, building and leading successful teams.” Fellow director, Susan Houston, added: “In his new role as Executive Chairman of Gretna Green, John will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of our business, including strategy and growth initiatives. He will work closely with senior management team to ensure that our business continues to thrive and evolve in today's dynamic marketplace.”

Mr Holliday, an ex-professional footballer at Carlisle United and Mansfield Town, has had several successes in business – including taking a U.K. focused broadcast technology and making it truly global; building the world’s smallest TV studio in a box and ‘The Home of the Expert’. A farmer’s son, he grew up at Langwathby near Penrith and returned to Cumbria in 2019 to help grow two businesses in the Eden Valley. He initially joined the Gretna Green Board as non-executive director in 2022. He takes over from chairman John Hammond, who is continuing to support the Board as non-executive director.

“Susan and I are extremely grateful for John Hammond’s kindness and steady support during the last couple of year following Alasdair’s death and thank him for his loyalty, hard work and guidance. We now look to the future and feel this is an exciting time for the company going forward with John Holliday as Executive Chairman,” added Mrs Houston.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Holliday said: "I am honoured to be joining the team at Gretna Green as Executive Chairman. This is an iconic global brand with a rich heritage and history. It has a bright future and as custodian I am excited to be part of its continued success. I look forward to working with chief executive Isabel Rhodes and the team to build on the company's strengths and drive growth in new and innovative ways."


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