Diageo has confirmed the appointment of Catherine Tolan as the new Managing Director of the Guinness Storehouse following the retirement of Paul Carty.
Paul has led the Guinness Storehouse since its inception, joining as MD in its first year almost two decades ago. Under his leadership, visitor numbers have increased six fold from under 300,000 to almost 1.8m in 2019.
He also led the management and opening of the Smithwick Experience in Kilkenny, the Guinness Open Gate Brewery on James’s Street and the latest addition to Diageo Brand homes, the Roe & Co whiskey experience. During Paul’s tenure, more than €50m has been invested in the Storehouse leading it to be voted Europe’s favourite tourist attraction in 2015. The latest investment in the expansion of the unique Gravity Bar, which will be opened later this year, is also a significant achievement for Paul’s career.
Mark Sandys, Global Head of Beer, Baileys and Smirnoff, said: “Over his time, nearly 21m people have entered the doors of the Guinness Storehouse, including kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers, superstars and rock singers.
“We are sad to see Paul move on after his incredibly successful tenure, but happy that he will have a well-earned retirement and no doubt, still engage with enthusiasm in the tourism sector and continue to share his wisdom. One of his biggest legacies will be the culture of customer care and employee engagement that is the hallmark of his leadership.”
Paul also had a term as president of the ITIC (Irish Tourism Industry Confederation), and was a board member of Fáilte Ireland. He was instrumental in the formation of AVEA (Association of Visitor Experiences and Attractions) which now has over 105 members throughout the island of Ireland. He has acted as an ambassador for Ireland and its hospitality offering in numerous tourism trade events abroad.
Catherine Toolan will take up the role of MD of the Guinness Storehouse from the beginning of April.
From Sligo, Catherine has had senior roles in Aramark, close partner of the Guinness Storehouse, and was responsible for managing the delivery of the Athletes Village at the Beijing and London Olympic Games.
Catherine’s most recent role was Chief Executive of the International Convention Centre, Belfast.
Mark Sandys said: “We are so 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 am looking forward to seeing Catherine’s energy, drive and vision leading this great business forward to even greater heights”.