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New boss for Ski Club of Great Britain - James Cove
Thursday May 24, 2012 - Email this article to a friend

Frank McCusker is to be the new CEO of the Ski Club of Great Britain. He takes over from Caroline Stuart-Taylor who left somewhat abruptly towards the end of the season. There are many challenges ahead for the new man and the organisation.

The Ski Club of Great Britain is the UK's oldest ski club with 18,000 paying members. 

In total there are just over 30,000 members - many are family members or honorary membership has been handed out.

It was founded in 1903.

The new boss has a background in business and PlanetSKI understands he was offered the job 10 days ago.

Other contenders were considered.

Staff were informed first and then a statement placed on the ski club's web site on Tuesday afternoon.

Frank McCusker takes up his new role on July 2nd.

"Frank was the stand out candidate for his overall business acumen and leadership combined with his experience within the marketing services sector focused on travel and leisure, customer loyalty and satisfaction and direct and digital marketing - all aspects of the Club that are critical to our future success," said the current Chairman, Neil Britten, in a statement. 

Frank McCuskerFrank McCusker“I am excited by this opportunity to build on the Ski Club’s nearly 110 year legacy to ensure a vibrant thriving Club, relevant to all ages and types of snow sports enthusiast," said Frank McCusker.

The Club used a firm of recruitment consultants to make its choice.

There was no internal candidate as we understand it, but there was interest from others within the ski industry.

One withdrew after he felt he could not make the necessary changes.

The sudden departure of Caroline Stuart-Taylor surprised many at the club and within the UK industry.

We reported on it at the time.

Frank McCusker faces many challenges ahead, the long running issue is always whether it is a members club or a commercial business.

The choice of a person with a background in business seems to indicate which way the Board of The Ski Club wishes the organisation to go.

He was Managing Director and subsequently Vice President of EMEA within the Carlson Marketing Group, with responsibilities for loyalty and direct and digital marketing.

He has also held the role of Global General Manager for customer loyalty specialists ICLP Group.

More recently his role within a smaller entrepreneurial and venture capital-backed business, focused on using technology to measure and improve customer satisfaction and experience.

He has also run his own consultancy business.

There are many challenges ahead for the new man.

For some the Ski Club is not the organisation it once was and others have encrouched onto territory it previously owned.

Many people joined for the discounts from tour operators, hotels and resorts  - now discounts are easy to come by. All people have to do is ask.

Its snow reports from the Alps were seen as accurate and impartial - now many are offering similar services and web cams tell it all.

Its web site was once a brand leader - now there are many competitors.

Other Ski Clubs like Snowheads have developed in the internet age and offer a rival service, albeit on a smaller scale.

Membership of The Club has been falling in recent years despite the recent costly re-launch and re-branding in 2010 that we reported on at the time.

The Club's leading service, where it takes members skiing and snowboarding, is one of the strengths of the Club to many of its members.

Under 10% of members use the service though.

Numbers have been falling and some resorts do not have the same enthusiasm for the Club as they once had.

In parts of France the whole issue of non-qualified guides leading people on the ski slopes is under question once again.

However the Ski Club is still at the heart of the UK ski industry and has many supporters, including us at PlanetSKI.

In our opinion the challenge for the new man is to make the Ski Club of Great Britain relevant again.

The current chairman, Neil Britten, is standing down in November after a 5-year term and PlanetSKI understands the chairman designate to be Rob Crowder, a council member and leader.

He is well-known to us with a deep committment and understanding of the Club. He was instrumental in appointing the new CEO.

Caroline Stuart-Taylor bowed out with a leaving party earlier this month.

There were farewell presentations at the Leader's end of season re-union on May 19th at the Ski Club HQ in Wimbledon.

She was given leaving presents and the long-time leader and former council member, Don Henderson, gave a moving speech describing her as the person who defined the character of the club.

She admitted she would miss the club in many ways but is continuing as a member and leader.

Farewell Carolne Stuart-TaylorFarewell Carolne Stuart-Taylor













We will bring you further details about Frank McCusker shortly.

Many people we have spoken to want to know who he is and what his ideas are. 

He is unknown to many in the ski industry but apparently enjoys skiing with his family and is a qualified rugby coach.

Into the futureInto the future






The content editor of PlanetSKI, James Cove, is a past director of the Ski Club, a leader and former member of the Club. He also helped launched SkiTV and was brielfy content editor of its web site in 2008.

For the spirit of the mountains

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