THE former chief of Bradford City has been appointed as chief executive of the group responsible for promoting Yorkshire to the world.

James Mason will join Welcome to Yorkshire early in the New Year, bringing with him a wealth of experience in business growth, finance, marketing and public relations.

The 41-year-old, who was born and raised in Bradford, describes himself as a proud and passionate Yorkshireman who is looking forward to bringing some ‘energy and further creativity’ to the role.

The father-of-two is the former chief operating officer of Bradford City Football Club and more recently chief operating officer of global sports agency First Point USA.

He was previously a broadcast journalist at the BBC and in addition has established and grown a number of businesses.

He replaces Gary Verity – who left the organisation on health grounds following accusations of bullying and claims expenses were being mis-spent.

Welcome to Yorkshire is arguably most well-known for creating the Tour de Yorkshire a cycle race through the county inspired by the Tour de France.

Commenting on the appointment, Mr Mason said: “I have been fortunate during my career to fulfil so many of my childhood dreams, from broadcasting on national radio and television, to running my beloved Bradford City Football Club.

“To lead an organisation responsible for putting Yorkshire on the world map is an honour. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am enormously proud of my Yorkshire roots and I have continued to live in the county even when work has taken me around the globe.

“I’m looking forward to working with the team at Welcome to Yorkshire to continue to build this country’s reputation as the best place in the world to visit, live and work. I know the organisation has been through a challenging period and I understand the need for transparency going forward.

“I have every confidence that by working together, and with the support of our partners and stakeholders, we can regain trust and rebuild relationships. Looking forward there are opportunities for digital growth and to engage with the Yorkshire community across the world to really showcase the county’s modern-day diversity. Welcome to Yorkshire, and Yorkshire as a whole, has a hugely exciting future. I really can’t wait to get started.”

Peter Box, chair of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “James is a passionate and proud Yorkshireman. He’ll be a hands-on CEO with strong values and integrity who brings with him a wealth of experience in business, marketing and public relations and will be a huge advocate not only for the organisation but for the county.

“This is a new start for Welcome to Yorkshire, and as chair, I’m very much looking forward to working with James to build on the organisation’s fantastic foundations and together, with the team, lead us into a new and exciting future.”

Mr Mason lives in Guiseley with his wife and two children.

Earlier this year he founded a new cafe for dementia sufferers in Bradford (Bradford Memories) in association with the Sporting Memories charity, where he is a trustee.