Toolan quits top role at ICC Belfast for Guinness Storehouse

Catherine Toolan

CATHERINE Toolan has left her high profile role as chief executive of Belfast's International Convention Centre to succeed Paul Carty as managing director of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

She has has had a hugely successful career in the conference, events, live music and hospitality industry spanning three continents, including senior roles in Aramark, close partner of the Guinness Storehouse.

Catherine - who will take up the role in April - was also responsible for managing the delivery of the Athletes Village at the Beijing and London Olympic Games.

Her most recent role at ICC Belfast has seen her transform the organisation to compete globally, and work with key stakeholders to develop a business tourism strategy and win large business events, contributing significant positive economic impact to Belfast and Northern Ireland.

Originally from Sligo, she has overseen a major growth spurt at the ICC, which is targeted with delivering 50,000 delegate days a year and £100m of economic impact to Belfast by March 2021.

But her watch also saw the appointment and subsequent termination, after a legal wrangle, of a £16m contract for British catering giant Amadeus to provide hospitality services at the venue.

Her predecessor in the Guinness Storehouse role helped grow visitor numbers at Ireland's top tourist attraction six fold from under 300,000 at its inception in 2002 to almost 1.8 million in 2019.

Since it opened, nearly 21 million people have entered the doors of the Guinness Storehouse, including kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers, superstars and rock singers.

Mark Sandys, global head of beer, Baileys and Smirnoff at Diageo, said: “We are excited to have Catherine joining our team. 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'm looking forward to seeing her energy, drive and vision leading this great business forward to even greater heights.”

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