Media release: Sail Scotland CEO announcement – Daniel Steel leaving; Alan Rankin appointed as successor


THE national sailing tourism marketing organisation, Sail Scotland, today announced that CEO, Daniel Steel, has decided to leave the company for a new post and challenge in Scottish tourism.

Alan Rankin has been appointed to the position, effective 28th October 2019.

Daniel Steel has been Sail Scotland CEO for over six years and has overseen the transformation of the organisation into one of the most effective and respected tourism groups in Scotland during that time.

During his tenure, the organisation has delivered continual growth in commercial revenues and member satisfaction. Along the way, he has won two Scottish Thistle Awards, played a key role in developing and championing Scotland’s Marine Tourism Strategy, and delivered a series of high-profile marketing campaigns which have driven millions of pounds of additional visitor spend into Scotland, which saw Scotland named Sailing Destination of the Year in 2015.

He has been a key member of the steering group which has shaped Scotland’s Year of Coasts & Waters 2020 and leaves the organisation on the cusp of huge opportunities to capitalise on the themed year.

Alan Rankin has a background in tourism, having led area destination organisations, worked with a number of activity-based sectors and involved developing tourism growth strategies at national level and regional level across Scotland.

Alan has led membership organisations at CEO level and delivered a wide range of national marketing campaigns and is well-known and respected across the tourism and public sector agency networks. Alan sails out of Ullapool, is a regular competitor in the Scottish Islands Three Peaks Race, is an RYA Yachtmaster and RYA Gold member.

Sail Scotland chair, Gavin McDonagh, said: “Daniel is an exceptional business leader who has transformed Sail Scotland, making it one of the best-performing and most admired tourism organisations in the country.

“His role in helping to re-shape the business from a low point in 2013 to an award-winning industry body has been tremendous.

“Under his stewardship, we have been instrumental in delivering the Scottish Marine Tourism Strategy, successfully leading the marine tourism industry to achieving greater results as evidenced by the high level of foreign tourists enjoying the world acclaimed sailing waters of Scotland.

“Daniel’s vision, drive and focus, combined with his commitment to serving member businesses and Scotland as a whole has strengthened us greatly. He leaves a stronger and more resilient company, well-placed to go forward and capitalise on the opportunities that lie ahead. I’d like to thank him personally, and on behalf of the board, for his contribution to Sail Scotland.”

He continued: “The board is delighted to appoint Alan Rankin to the role. Alan has a deep understanding and experience of our industry, and the markets in which we operate. He has an impressive track record of delivery with business membership organisations, working across different sectors and at senior national levels. We warmly welcome Alan to the role and wish him every success.”

Daniel Steel said: “I congratulate Alan Rankin on his appointment and look forward to working with him on the transition. Having known Alan for many years, I am highly confident that, under his leadership, Sail Scotland will continue to prosper long into the future.

“It has been an honour to lead Sail Scotland over the past six years. Throughout this time, I have been humbled by the commitment and hard work of our industry board, and our members all around Scotland.

“Their passion to collaborate and innovate in order to grow is incredible, and I am very grateful to them, and to all of our partner organisations and other stakeholders, with whom I have worked to deliver sustainable growth in marine tourism. I look forward to engaging with many of these partners – in a different capacity – to continue to grow tourism in Scotland, and to capitalise on the opportunities that lie ahead to grow tourism in Scotland for the benefit of our businesses and communities.”

Alan Rankin said: “It will be a huge privilege to lead Sail Scotland – it is a fantastic organisation promoting some of the finest sailing waters in the world. With Scotland’s Year of Coasts & Waters 2020 almost upon us there is a huge opportunity to make sure that the eyes of the world are opened to our pristine coasts and sailing waters over the coming year. I look forward to working with members, stakeholders and the board in the coming months to further enhance value to members and the contribution the sector makes to the Scottish economy.

“I’d also like to extend my gratitude to Daniel for his remarkable leadership of Sail Scotland and look forward to working closely with him during the transition.”

MEDIA RELEASE issued by Sail Scotland. You too can share your stories (aka press or media releases), on this site. Email here for more information.

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Contact: Daniel Steel