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Lord Thurso has been VisitScotland Chair since April 2016. In this post, he also serves as an Ex-Officio Board Member of VisitBritain.

He became the Queen’s representative for Caithness as HM Lord Lieutenant in 2017.

Born and raised in Thurso, the then Hon. John Sinclair trained at the Savoy Group in London. He worked at Claridges, The Berkeley and The Savoy and was then made manager of the Lancaster in Paris. He had become Europe’s youngest five-star hotel manager at 27.

He became founder General Manager of Cliveden in 1985, Britain’s only stately home hotel. It gained a Michelin star for its food, 91% in Egon Ronay and 5 Red AA stars.

He succeeded his father as Viscount Thurso in 1995 and took over the Fitness & Leisure holdings Group, owners of Champneys Health Resorts and Clubs.

Lord Thurso has also been a non–executive director of a number of companies.

These have included:

  • The Savoy Group PLC
  • Mosimann’s Ltd
  • Royal Olympic Cruise Lines Inc. 
  • Walker Greenbank PLC (which he also chaired)

Lord Thurso sat in the House of Lords from 1995-99 as a Liberal Democrat. Following the removal of the hereditary peers, in 2001 he became MP for Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross. This was a seat he held until 2015.

He served on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards from 2012-2013. During the 2010-2015 parliament, he chaired the House of Commons Finance Committee. He was a spokesman and member of the House of Commons Commission and appointed to the Privy Council in 2014.

In 2016 he returned to the House of Lords through a hereditary peers by-election.

Lord Thurso chairs his family companies in Caithness. He also chairs The International Wine and Spirit Competition Ltd and The North Highland Regeneration Fund.

He was a Trustee of the Castle of Mey from 1996 to 2019. In 2007 he received a Catey Award for his contribution to tourism. He also received an Honorary Doctorate from Oxford Brookes.

In his spare time, he enjoys gardening and fishing.

Chairman John Thurso in Edinburgh

John Thurso's Register of Interests

Published June 2023

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