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Former Waterfront chief executive to take top role at Guinness Storehouse

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Catherine Toolan is heading to Dublin to take on the managing director’s role at Guinness Storehouse

Catherine Toolan is heading to Dublin to take on the managing director’s role at Guinness Storehouse

Catherine Toolan is heading to Dublin to take on the managing director’s role at Guinness Storehouse

The former chief executive of the Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall in Belfast is taking over the top role at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

Catherine Toolan will become managing director in April as Paul Carty steps down after two decades.

Under his leadership the Guiness Storehouse has become Ireland's most popular paid visitor attraction, with visitor numbers increasing six-fold from under 300,000 to almost 1.8m in 2019.

It was reported last week that Ms Toolan, from Sligo, was leaving her role at the events space and conference centre after nearly four years in the post.

She started the job in August 2016 and covered the Waterfront Hall's relaunch as the ICC Belfast.

Mark Sandys, global head of Beer, Baileys and Smirnoff, 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," he added.

Mr Carty oversaw the development and expansion of facilities at the Storehouse. 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 his tenure more than £42m (€50m) has been invested in the Storehouse leading it to be voted Europe's favourite tourist attraction in 2015. The expansion of the unique Gravity Bar will be opened later this year.

"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," added Mr Sandys.

"Regardless of who they are, Paul and his team have given each and every one the same warm welcome, as if they are visiting their home, the home of Guinness.

"We have all loved working with Paul, whose passion, commitment, kindness and energy are inspiring to everyone. We are sad to see Paul move on after his incredibly successful tenure, but happy that he will have a well-earned retirement.

"One of his biggest legacies will be the culture of customer care and employee engagement that is the hallmark of his leadership."

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