Business Breakfast Guest Speaker Announcement

13 March, 2020

Kilbryde Hospice Business Breakfasts are back for 2020, with our first breakfast taking place on Thursday 20th April from 8am – 10am at Hampden Park, who are kindly sponsoring our Business Breakfasts for the second year running.

We are delighted to announce our first guests speaker for 2020 is, John Boyle OBE.

John Boyle is one of Scotland’s best-known entrepreneurs. Born in Hamilton near Glasgow, he started work in the travel industry in 1972 with Vista Jet. After three years, he decided to set up on his own as an aviation consultant.

In 1975, he established Falcon Leisure Group which was at the forefront of providing cheap European leisure travel. By 1982, the company was carrying 150,000 passengers. John sold Falcon Leisure in 1983 and became a main board director of Owner’s Abroad Plc. As Chief Executive of the company, with a £100m turnover and 1,000 employees, he was responsible for strategy and development and implemented a policy of organic growth and acquisition. In 1990 Owners Abroad was the third largest tour operating company in the UK having outpaced the entire industry in relative growth and output. In November 1990, John resigned from Owners Abroad Plc before setting up Direct Holidays.

In March 1991 John set up Direct Holidays and was Chairman and the largest shareholder. Direct Holidays steadily expanded in the 90s and was ultimately sold in 1998 to Airtours Plc for a cash consideration of £82m.

John’s contribution to business has been recognised on numerous occasions. He was Chairman of ABTA (tour operation council) for three consecutive years from 1987, he was voted Scotland’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 1997 and Travel Trade ‘Personality of the Year’ in 1998. In 2004 he was awarded an OBE for services to business

In 1998 John took a controlling interest in Motherwell Football Club, the team he has supported since childhood. Having run the club successfully for 13 years, he has now handed over all of his controlling shareholding at no cost to the fan owned Well Society. This will create a new model for football clubs being run and controlled by their fan base. All the proceeds from the share transfer will go directly to the club.

In April 1999, John established The Hamilton Portfolio Ltd with Andrew Lapping of PWC. Hamilton is a venture capital investment management company based in Glasgow, its principal aim being to invest in small and startup companies offering finance and advice with a view to expansion or sale

Among Hamilton’s investments were/are:

  • CV Travel – a luxury ski & villa rental company, sold to Kuoni Worldwide for £14m in 2007.
  • Global Expense Ltd – an outsourcing expense management company, sold to Concur Technologies for £14m in 2011.
  • Gemini Press Ltd – one of the UK’s leading printing businesses based in Shoreham (
  • BDL Select Hotels – offering quality hotel accommodation in a range of locations across the UK (www.bdlhot

In 2014 John became Chairman of Altia Solutions Limited and their largest shareholder. In 2017 Altia acquired ABM, a company with considerable reputation in under cover software with a number of the UKs leading crime agencies. The company has recently expanded in Canada and Australia.

For 15 years, John has been an active supporter of the little-known charity Children in Distress which provides nursing care and therapy for abandoned, disabled and terminally ill children in Eastern Europe. John is dedicated to raising funds and, for 10 consecutive years to 2009, sponsored an annual ball in Glasgow which raised a total of over £1m. In 2002, he and a group of friends cycled across Vietnam and managed to raise £89,000 in sponsorship for the charity.

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