Leicester Shire Promotions, the tourist board for Leicester and Leicestershire, has appointed five new directors to support the company's strategic plan to develop and promote the destination to domestic and international visitors.

The new non-executive appointments replace recently-retired directors and are:

James Conaghan, General Manager at Mercure Leicester The Grand Hotel

James has worked in the hotel industry for 23 years. He trained through the ranks of Forte Hotels within the Posthouse Brand, leading to becoming the youngest hotel manager for UK Forte Hotels at the time. He also worked for Choice Hotels Europe, managing a few hotels before becoming a Regional Manager of a few properties in Norfolk. James joined Menzies hotels before joining Jupiter Hotels (formerly Jarvis hotels) and The Grand Hotel in 2008.

Ashok Kataria, accountant and freelance consultant (including Volunteer Services to Charities)

Ashok is a semi-retired, qualified chartered accountant. He co-founded and ran accountancy practices in the city for over 30 years.

Sharon Redrobe, Chief Executive at Twycross Zoo Since 2013

Dr Redrobe has invigorated this traditional business, attracting 500,000 visitors a year, from a loss-making charity into one generating surplus within two years and driven the new strategic vision for the site. Her unique combination of animal welfare sensibility, scientific rigour and business acumen has been instrumental in rejuvenating Twycross Zoo and she recently launched the masterplan vision to transform the Zoo into a world-class park, securing £4 million investment in the site during 2015.

Lili Tabiner, Development Manager at Great Central Railway

Lili is working with Great Central Railway on two major infrastructure projects: a new heritage railway museum in Leicester and the reunification of the Great Central Railway in Loughborough which will create an 18 mile heritage railway. The museum project has recently secured a first round pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund's major grant scheme with an allocation of £10m. Previously, Lili was Partnerships Manager at the East Midlands Development Agency (emda), working on a number of regeneration projects across the East Midlands and prior the that, she worked in further education, managing both commercial and community programmes.

Chris Traill, Strategic Director for Neighbourhoods & Community Wellbeing at Charnwood Borough Council

Chris has worked across local authority and community public sector for over 25 years. Her current portfolio ranges from waste, leisure, town centre grounds maintenance to community safety safeguarding and customer service excellence.

Martin Peters, Chief Executive of Leicester Shire Promotions said: “The new directors bring significant experience and expertise in the fields of managing local visitor attractions, hotels, finance and the public sectors. They will strengthen the existing board and help us to continue to support and grow the local tourism industry in terms of visitor numbers, economic impact and jobs created.”