Bob Cotton OBE Honoured by BAHA for outstanding leadership of British Hospitality Association (BHA)
Bob Cotton OBE – Chief Executive of the UK hospitality industry’s trade body, the British Hospitality Association (BHA) – was presented with a special award last week by BAHA (British Association of Hospitality Accountants) in recognition of his outstanding service to the UK hospitality industry during his tenure at the BHA.
Commenting on the award, BAHA Chief Executive Carl Weldon said: “We were honoured and delighted that Bob Cotton agreed to address the 2009 Conference; and we wanted to publicly acknowledge Bob’s exceptional stewardship of the BHA, following the recent announcement that he has targeted the 2010 General Election as being an ‘appropriate’ time to step down from heading-up the UK hospitality industry’s trade body.
“In his role as BHA Chief Executive, which began in January 2000, Bob has been an outstanding champion and ambassador for the UK hospitality profession. Indeed, the BHA could not have had a stronger, more robust or more articulate chief executive. Who can forget, for example, Bob’s outstanding leadership during the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis?
“He has achieved so much during his time as Chief Executive; and much of this success can be attributed to the following factors: first, his depth of understanding of how government works and his enormous contribution in raising the profile of the industry to unparalleled levels in government – in London, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Second, his ability to present the BHA’s and the industry’s views to the media coherently and forcefully. He is known, for example, for almost never turning down an interview opportunity with television, radio or press. Third is his tireless capacity for sheer hard work which has paid dividends not just for the BHA, but the industry as a whole. Indeed, whoever succeeds Bob at the BHA is going to have a very hard act to follow.”
Examples of Bob Cotton’s many notable successes, resulting from his outstanding leadership of the BHA, include:
- achieving a favourable response for the industry from the government to the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis
- successfully leading the campaign for the government to abandon a suggested bed/tourist tax
- the creation of the National Skills Academy for Hospitality, of which he is Chairman
- being the principal driver in the creation of the Best Practice Forum – with the BHA being a founding member
- the merger with The Restaurant Association
- as part of the 2012 London Olympic bid, the Olympics organising committee had to secure 60,000 rooms – Cotton successfully co-ordinated this task, getting the major hotel groups together to commit to providing this number of rooms for 2012 (at a given rate plus inflation)
- close liaison with devolved administrations to encourage a greater understanding of the importance of tourism
- key support for the harmonised hotel classification and grading scheme
- successful lobby against local authorities' go-it-alone’ approach on smoking bans; and opposition to other government inconsistencies in this area
- support for the Tourism Alliance, of which he has twice been chairman
- discussions over a long period with HM Revenue and Customs on tips and tipping, resulting in a favourable outcome to the industry
- the inclusion of chefs in the skilled category of worker in the new immigration points-based system
About Bob Cotton OBE, Chief Executive, British Hospitality Association
Bob Cotton OBE has been chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, the national trade association of the hospitality and catering and leisure industry, with over 40,000 establishments in membership, since January 2000. Before his appointment, he spent a year as tourism adviser to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
A graduate of the University of Surrey, gaining a BSc in hotel and catering management, he joined Gardner Merchant (now Sodexo UK Ltd), one of the country’s leading contract catering companies, working in various parts of the UK and abroad. At the time of his move to the DCMS, he was director of communications and strategic development, UK and abroad for Sodexo UK.
He is chairman of both the Hospitality Skills Academy and past chairman of the Tourism Alliance and Hospitality Action.
In 2002, he was presented with the Special Catey Award, organised by Caterer & Hotelkeeper, for services to the hospitality industry, as well as the Arena Accolade for his work promoting the industry. He is a Visiting Fellow at Bournemouth University, an honorary Fellow of Thames Valley University and has an Honorary Masters’ Degree from London Metropolitan University.
He was appointed OBE in the 2003 New Year’s Honours List for services to the tourism and hospitality industry.
BAHA is a non-profit educational organisation – formed in 1969 with the aim of bringing together those professionals involved in financial management, revenue management and IT within the hospitality industry.
Since its inception, the membership has expanded to over 800 members and is recognised as the United Kingdom's authoritative voice in the hospitality industry on financial management, technical accounting issues, taxation, and hotel valuation. BAHA is also the leading arena for debate on hotel systems and Revenue Management topics through their annual Conference and meetings programmes.
BAHA provides the only industry specific Hospitality Finance qualification and is currently developing similar qualifications for Revenue Management and IT within Hospitality. For more information, visit:
Dr. Julian Demetriadi FIH MTS
Phone: +44 (0)1722 238 627
Fax: +44 (0)1725 552 861