Essential Edinburgh adds business high-fliers to board

Jenny McPartlin, general manager of Marks & Spencer on Princes Street. Picture: contributed

Jenny McPartlin, general manager of Marks & Spencer on Princes Street. Picture: contributed

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Essential Edinburgh – the company which runs the city centre Business Improvement District – has added the Capital’s marketing chief and a retail high-flyer to its board.

Marketing Edinburgh’s chief executive John Donnelly and Jenny McPartlin, general manager of Marks & Spencer in Princes Street, will become non-executive directors.

Mr Donnelly took on the role at the tourism agency in 2013, having previously been senior executive with Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

He spent more than 20 years managing some of Edinburgh and London’s most successful marketing agencies.

Last month, Mr Donnelly warned that the Capital faced slipping behind its major rivals if it was not allowed to introduce some form of tourist tax.

And last year he gave his backing to two controversial developments lined up for the city.

He said he supported now rejected plans for the Royal High School to be turned into a hotel and the approved St James Centre redevelopment, which also features a luxury hotel.

However, he stopped short at expressing a view on their designs.

He said he was hoping to bring his experience from working with the successful This is Edinburgh marketing campaign to his new role.

He said: “I’m a passionate believer that Edinburgh is one of the best cites in the world.

“Having worked closely with Essential Edinburgh on the successful two-year This is Edinburgh campaign, I’m looking forward to building on that collaboration and both organisations’ shared commitment to making Edinburgh the best it can be for residents and visitors.”

Ms McPartlin joined Marks and Spencer as a graduate and has had a variety of different appointments across the UK and Ireland.

These have included six store manager jobs across the length and breadth of Scotland from Aberdeen to Ayr.

She said: “To manage a flagship store on one of the most famous shopping streets in Britain is a real privilege, especially when that street is part of one of the most successful and vibrant city centres in the world.

“The work played by Essential Edinburgh in maintaining and enhancing that vitality is important, and I look forward to being a part of that.”

Denzil Skinner, chairman of Essential Edinburgh, said the new appointments would prove huge assets to the organisation.

He said: “John Donnelly and Jenny McPartlin bring tremendous skills, energy and commitment to Essential Edinburgh.

“They are both very positive, motivated people and I am sure they will bring new ideas with them and challenge us to ever improve our services to our members.

“The Business Improvement District sees our city centre businesses invest £1 million a year of their money into improving a whole range of aspects of our city centre – from marketing through to cleaning.

“That is a real statement and demonstrates the significant financial commitment that business invests to make our wonderful city centre even better and more 
successful.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com