James McGinn ‘excited and frightened’ at being named new Hastings MD

James McGinn ‘excited and frightened’ at being named new Hastings MD

James McGinn, for so long the face of Belfast’s most famous hotel, has become managing director of Hastings Hotels.

The move comes as the company’s longest serving director, Edward Carson, retired as chairman to be succeeded by Howard Hastings.

Speaking about his “dream promotion”, James told LCN: ” It is really exciting. Literally from today Andrew McNeill has moved into my office at the Europa and taken over the reins after me being there from 2003. I’m now based at the Culloden for the moment and it is a really exciting time to hopefully come out of Covid and bring the company forward.

“I’ve been with the company 25 years and I never envisaged that this would be possible. I’ve always had Howard there and before that Sir William and the fellow directors, but I never thought that I would be managing director. It is both exhilarating, exciting and frightening all together.”


James McGinn (front left) has been appointed as the new MD of Hastings Hotels and Howard Hastings is the group’s new Chairman, following the retirement of Edward Carson (front right) . Also pictured are Andy McNeill, the new GM of the Europa and Niall Burns, the new GM of the Culloden Estate & Spa

As part of the shake-up Andy McNeill, who is currently the General Manager of the Culloden Estate & Spa and is returning to the Europa Hotel, where he started his career in hospitality, as its new General Manager, just in time to celebrate the iconic hotel’s 50th birthday.

And Niall Burns, who previously worked for Hastings as the Deputy General Manager of the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, and most recently as the General Manager of Lyrath Estate in County Kilkenny, will replace Andy at the helm of the Culloden, with Edward Carson retaining his board membership as a non-executive director..

And James admitted to LCN that there may have been a tear in his eye as he said au revoir to the Europa… if not goodbye.

‘Nurtured like a child’

“The Europa and I are almost synonymous with each other,” he said. “It was sad leaving the office and a hotel that I nurtured like a child for so many years. But I have not ‘left’ left, I now have other children to look after that’s all.”

Speaking about the changes, Howard Hastings added: “As we emerge from the pandemic, Hastings Hotels is confident that it does so with a very strong team. I would like to thank Edward Carson in particular for his lifetime of dedication and commitment to the company and am delighted that he will remain on the board.

“I am also thrilled that we are able to acknowledge and harness the talents of individuals who have come through the ranks to attain a senior status in the company, and while it is ‘welcome back’ to Niall Burns at the Culloden Estate, my fellow directors and I wish him, Andy McNeill at the Europa and James McGinn as managing director, our very best wishes as they take on their new roles.”