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Hays Travel boss signs up for Sunderland Business Festival

A top North East business leader is on the line-up for one of the region’s biggest business events next month.

Dame Irene Hays, who is chair and owner of Hays Travel, which she ran with her late husband John – will be discussing her life and career as part of Sunderland Business Festival, which runs from 12th – 14th October.

Hays Travel came to national prominence after acquiring Thomas Cook’s retail estate in 2019 and has grown to become the UK’s largest independent travel agent.

Dame Irene enjoyed a long and successful career in local government, as chief executive of both Sunderland and South Tyneside local authorities. She also worked in Westminster as a director general at the Department of Communities and Local Government and non-executive board member at the Department for Education. She is one of a line up nationally-significant business leaders who will be speaking at the festival, with more headliners to be announced this month.

Dame Irene said: “It will be a real pleasure to support the Sunderland Business Festival and to welcome an audience to our Head Office in Keel Square.”

Sunderland Business Festival ran for the first-time last year with the aim of inspiring enterprises from across the region, with a host of engaging speeches and sessions from high-profile business leaders.

The action-packed programme this year will include a jobs fair, expert presentations, panel discussions, ‘on the sofa’ discussions with industry leaders and a meet the buyer event.

The festival is being organised by Sunderland Business Partnership, a collective of organisations – large and small – all with an interest in the city’s development, creating opportunities for members to collaborate and grow, which in turn helps Sunderland to be a more dynamic destination for business.

Dame Irene will be speaking at Hays Travel’s Sunderland Headquarters on Wednesday 12 October at 3.30pm, the event is FREE to attend but tickets should be booked via Eventbrite here:

More details of this year’s line-up will be announced in the coming days. People interested in finding out more can sign-up for email updates on the event’s website or follow @SunderlandBP on Twitter.

September 22, 2022

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