Director Profiles

Visit County Durham has a board of directors drawn from the public and private sectors. The board meets six times a year. 



Ivor Stolliday

(Chair) Ivor has held senior roles in television with ITV before spending 15 years as chief executive of the Dartington Hall Trust, a major arts and educational charity with visitor centre and conference facilities in Devon. Now living in Barnard Castle with his wife Deborah, Ivor holds non-executive roles at the Tyneside Cinema and Baltic.


Cllr Ossie Johnson

Ossie is the Cabinet Member for Tourism, Culture, Leisure and Rural Issues for Durham County Council. He served on Derwentside District Council as Cabinet Member before joining Durham County Council when it became a Unitary Authority. He has a background in Education and has studied at 3 Northern Universities.


Ian Thompson

Ian joined Durham County Council in 2008 as Corporate Director Regeneration and Economic Development. His responsibilities also include planning, housing and transport strategy. Ian has held a number of senior regeneration and development positions with councils across the country including Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, Stockton-on-Tees and City of York.


Sandra Whitefield

Sandra runs the award-winning Low Urpeth Farm Bed and Breakfast. Low Urpeth Farm is one of the great success stories of the Durham visitor economy, leading the way in delivering innovation, excellence and high standards of sustainability for a small business.


Suzanne Duncan

Suzanne is Principal and Chief Executive Officer of East Durham College. She lives in Durham, having previously worked at the College as Assistant Principal from 2003 to 2007. Hartlepool-born Suzanne also worked for five and a half years in the role of Vice Principal at Sunderland College.


Ross Grieve

Ross, managing director of Seaham Hall, started his career at The Ritz London on the Management Trainee Scheme. Subsequent roles included Food and Beverage Manager at Dublin’s Clarence Hotel, owned by U2, and Deputy General Manager at The Cotton House on the island of Mustique. Ross spent 10 years as Hotel Manager at the Chester Grosvenor before joining Seaham Hall.  


Sally Dixon

Sally is an Assistant Director at Beamish Museum with over a decade of experience in arts and culture, leading on the management of Beamish’s regional, UK and European partnership programmes; communications and marketing; fundraising; and driving earned income through group and venue sales. Sally is a trustee of the Durham-based participatory arts organisation The Forge.


David Harker

David joined Durham County Cricket Club in 1991 and was appointed Chief Executive in 2001. As well as tremendous success on the pitch during his period of office, including the success of the Ashes Test in 2013, there has also been an enormous amount of development off the pitch with Emirates Riverside hosting international cricket as well as entertainment events.


Ruth Robson

Ruth is Head of Marketing and Events at Durham Cathedral.  She has over 17 years’ experience in the cultural and heritage sectors working in New York and since 2002 in her native North East England.  Prior to this she had an extensive career in broadcasting primarily at the BBC in both the UK and the USA.


Duncan Peake

Duncan joined Raby Estates as Chief Executive in 2017 after a successful track record developing some of the UK’s foremost landed estate businesses. He is responsible for business operations across Raby landholdings in Co Durham and the Midlands including leadership of a change management programme and development of the Estate’s tourism and leisure interests. Duncan was formerly CEO of the Holker Group in Cumbria and was a Director of the Cumbria LEP and Cumbria Tourism.


Carol Woods

Carol runs Durham Cottages a collection of three self-contained holiday cottages in Durham City, a business that has been providing quality accommodation to visitors for the last twenty five years. Carol also works as a self-employed tour manager and regularly escorts groups in the UK and Europe.


Stephen King

Stephen is the commercial director of Go North East and plays an active role in the regional business, culture and tourism communities. He is a director of Network Ticketing Limited, which provides integrated public transport ticketing across the region. He was recognised nationally by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as its 2018 ‘Marketer of the Year’ and at the UK Bus Awards winning its Gold Award for ‘Leadership and Inspiration’ in 2017.


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