ABTA poaches IoD's Marshall as chief lobbyist

The Association of British Travel Agents has lured David Marshall from the Institute of Directors to be its head of policy and comms - effectively the UK travel industry's principal lobbyist.

Marshall, who has been IoD director of public affairs since 2002, takes up the role in October. He will replace Keith Betton, who steps down as director of corporate affairs and membership services after 20 years with ABTA to set up his own consultancy. The role has been adapted to reflect the increasing urgency of policy and regulatory issues affecting the industry.

Betton leaves after the ABTA Travel Convention in November.

Marshall will lead efforts to minimise airline levies and ensure the industry is doing all it can to ensure sustainable tourism, from employment practices to transport links and hotel locations.

He will report to ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer, who praised Marshall's ‘vast wealth of experience in public affairs', adding he was expected to ‘strengthen the public face of ABTA with the Government, members and the media'. ABTA represents 6,000 travel agents and 850 tour operators.

Marshall began his career as a Downing Street press officer during the Thatcher administration in 1983. He went on to be chief press officer at Conservative Central Office before becoming public affairs manager at Kingfisher, and UK government relations manager at Unilever.

He left the consumer goods firm four years ago to join the IoD, which is now hunting his successor.

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