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Queen of Shops is coming to Wellington Place


Mary Portas, the “Queen of Shops”, is bringing her renowned retail expertise to Wellington Place this summer as the city plays host for the first time to Mike Firth’s Yorkshire International Business Convention.

The new address is not the only change at the annual business get-together, held in the past at the Great Yorkshire Showground and last year at Harrogate International Centre.

Mr Firth is stepping aside as master of ceremonies and handing over presenting duties to Gabby Logan, the Leeds-born BBC star and daughter of Terry Yorath, the former Leeds Utd footballer.

Other speakers confirmed so far include Lord Prescott and Michael Portillo, big beasts from the world of Westminster, Steve Cram, the middle-distance athletics hero, and Will Whitehorn, formerly a key lieutenant to Sir Richard Branson.

Mr Firth, who is well known for his ability to bring world leaders to Yorkshire, said: “We’re delighted to be able to announce these speakers.

“Each of them will bring something very different to YIBC.

“These are people with real experiences to share and they will do so in a very engaging manner.

“Each speaker has the capacity to inspire, educate and entertain delegates who will be able to apply some of those lessons learned to their own business and organisational environments.”

He is in talks with agents about adding a headline speaker to the line-up.

“We aim to bring and indeed have brought the finest speakers to YIBC and this year is no different. Our headline speaker will be a star, a leader in their field,” added Mr Firth.

“At the end of each convention we always wonder how we are going to ‘top that’ but we do.

“Things are shaping up very nicely for June and I’m looking forward to another excellent event.”

The YIBC takes place in a giant marquee at Wellington Place. The event, on Friday June 15, will be followed by a new three-day arts and business festival, promising exciting work from Northern Ballet and Yorkshire Dance.

The Institute of Directors and UK Trade & Investment will host a programme of masterclasses on Monday.

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