No one could claim that Bob Cotton has enjoyed an easy ride as chief executive of the British Hospitality Association.
During his decade-long tenure, the UK's hospitality industry has been rocked by the foot and mouth outbreak and SARS; 9/11 and London's July 7 bombings; and the crippling global recession of the past two years. Cotton has confronted these and many other crises and pressures head-on.
Crucially, he has never been afraid to ruffle feathers. His willingness to point out to ministers the errors of their ways has been instrumental in holding at bay many damaging fiscal, regulatory and legislative changes mooted over the past decade.
And he has brought a dogged determination to the Sisyphean task of convincing Government of the industry's economic importance to the nation.
Through all these battles, Caterer and Hotelkeeper has stood shoulder to shoulder with Cotton - as, for example, when we campaigned jointly to ensure a controversial proposed bed tax never saw the light of day back in 2006. After all, we each share common goals: a flourishing hospitality industry and a Government that takes tourism seriously.
When Cotton's successor, Ufi Ibrahim, takes up her role next month, she can rest assured that the Caterer Group will fight tirelessly beside her to further the cause of hospitality.
http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2010/06/24/333980/bob-cotton-looks-back-at-his-decade-at-the-helm-of-the-bha.html" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Bob Cotton looks back at his decade at the helm of the BHA >>
Few, if any, of this year's Acorn winners were out of their teens when Bob Cotton joined the BHA. But all have used the past decade well, developing their careers, inspiring their colleagues and driving their businesses to ever greater success.
If operators are to flourish in the coming years, they will need to look to their shining stars, those outstanding performers who are able to display the energy, dedication and innovation needed to guarantee excellent service and customer care - people like the 2010 Acorns. Well done to all of our winners for their great success.
Mark Lewis, Editor, Caterer and Hotelkeeper