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30 Mar 2020 World leisure: news, training & property
 
 
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24 Feb 2020

Catherine Toolan to replace departing Paul Carty at Guinness Storehouse
BY Andy Knaggs

Catherine Toolan comes with a background in venue and event management

Catherine Toolan comes with a background in venue and event management

Ireland's top attraction, the Guinness Storehouse, is to come under new leadership from April, with Catherine Toolan replacing Paul Carty as managing director.

Carty is stepping into retirement after 18 years in the role, during which time it has grown from 300,000 annual visitors in 2002 to almost 1.8 million in 2019. More than €50m (US$54.1m, £41.9m) has been invested in the site in that time, with the latest development being the current expansion of the rooftop Gravity Bar.

In addition, Carty has helped build a wider network of drink-themed visitor attractions, such as the Smithwick's Experience in Kilkenny and the Roe & Co Whiskey visitor centre in Dublin, which opened last year.

Catherine Toolan hails from Coolaney, County Sligo. She has been chief executive at Belfast's International Conference Centre since 2016, pursuing a strategy of trying to attract European and global events to the venue.

Formerly of Forte Hotel Group, Toolan was managing director of global sports and events with Aramark for a decade, overseeing the design and delivery of food and retail services in the athletes' villages at both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympic Games.

Diageo's global head of beers, Baileys and Smirnoff, Mark Sandys, paid tribute to Paul Carty's "passion, commitment, kindness and energy", which have been "inspiring to everyone", he said.

Regarding Catherine Toolan's appointment, he added: "She brings a wealth of experience in event and visitor experience management as we move into a new era for the Guinness Storehouse and our other brand homes. I am looking forward to seeing Catherine's energy, drive and vision leading this great business forward to even greater heights."



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