THE imminent departure of Alnwick Castle and Garden’s chief executive officer Christian Perdrier has sent a shockwave through the town,
Mr Perdrier arrived in a blaze of glory from Disney 15 months ago and has since had a dream of marketing the Alnwick package – town, Garden and Castle.
In just over a year, he has won many plaudits and attracted as much criticism for his forthright views, which he has not been afraid to share or air. His obvious enthusiasm and Gallic charm has been infectious and many in the town have been carried along on the same wave.
When he arrived, he was full of ideas and dreams for Alnwick. Some of those are only now coming to fruition – the Garden’s ticketing link-up with the Bailiffgate Museum is beginning to reap beneits.
Unfortunately, his arrival from Dubai has coincided with two of the worst winters in living memory and a global downturn that would challenge even the most successful businessman.
He has been forced to make tough decisions at the Garden and hopefully they will set up the organisation to meet the economic challenges ahead.
Not everyone has embraced Mr Perdrier’s vision and cynics will say they forecast that Mr Perdrier would not last the distance. But we believe he has been a breath of fresh air for the whole area.
In July, Mr Perdrier will depart to help his wife set up a business in the south of France. Let us use his final six months here to learn from his vast experience in the tourism industry.
We now need someone, preferably from the town, to pick up the challenge of forging closer links with the Castle and Garden for the benefit of all.