Hospitals to hospitality – new hire for Surgeons’ Hall owner

Neil Johnston, left, with Surgeons' Hall commercial director Scott Mitchell. Picture: Contributed
Neil Johnston, left, with Surgeons' Hall commercial director Scott Mitchell. Picture: Contributed
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The commercial arm of Edinburgh’s Royal College of Surgeons is eyeing a further record performance after hiring a hospitality expert to drive up revenues.

Neil Johnston has been appointed financial controller of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Commercial Enterprises, joining from a similar role with the Westerwood Hotel in Cumbernauld.

A graduate of Dundee University and hailing from Antrim in Northern Ireland, Johnston boasts a 20-year career that has seen him work with hotel giants such as Hilton and Radisson.

The key appointment comes after Surgeons’ Hall booked record revenues of almost £4.3 million in its latest financial year, up 20 per cent on the previous 12 months.

READ MORE: Healthy demand boosts revenues at Surgeons’ Hall

A dedicated commercial enterprise team was established a decade ago to manage commercial activities held within the college campus. Profits help support the college’s charitable aims in education, assessment and advancement in surgery.

The team promotes, sells and manages conferences, corporate events and weddings across the college’s buildings, which include a conference centre and four-star, 77-bedroom hotel.

Scott Mitchell, commercial director at Surgeons’ Hall, said: “Neil has a wealth of experience delivering success for some of Scotland’s most sought after hotels. We knew he would be a perfect fit for Surgeons’ Hall.”

In recent years, £20m has been spent on upgrading the facilities on offer. Last year, some 500 events were staged.