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Events industry veteran John Carson retires after 18-year career

John Carson, the popular and personable Managing Director of Ashorne Hill and previous Chair of Venues of Excellence has retired after a hugely successful tenure.

Carson started his career in the Royal Navy which then led to a HR Director and learning and development role for British Steel/Tata Steel.  Responsible for graduate recruitment and development, he was relocated to Ashorne Hill in 2003 to take over as Managing Director of the dedicated training and events venue in Leamington Spa.

During his career, Carson has transformed Ashorne Hill’s model and positioning in the conference and training market. Amongst his many achievements, he oversaw the transition of Ashorne Hill from an in-house training centre for TATA Steel into a top class, award-winning venue for external training and meetings. He spearheaded investment into the venue, most notably the 2011 renovation of the CLASP building, the restaurant and the concourse.

In 2015, the charity trust behind Ashorne Hill was transferred from TATA Steel to Jaguar Land Rover and Carson was heavily involved in a seamless transfer of the business.

More recently, he has been the driving force behind the development of digital first graduate and management training programmes in response to the pandemic and the need for agile and digital training modules for businesses.

On his retirement, Carson said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my 18 years at Ashorne Hill. She is a beautiful and historic building with so much potential that it’s been a privilege to put her on the map as a key training venue in the Midlands. When I think how far we’ve come with such amazing people around me, then I leave knowing that the venue is in a great place, despite the last 12 months. I’m handing over a very solid business which will only continue to grow and flourish over the next few years.

Carson will be replaced by Jon West, who is transferring from Jaguar Land Rover where he held the Director of Manufacturing role for 12 years.