THE newly-appointed chairman of the tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire has pledged to “regain public confidence” after its chief executive and chairman resigned amidst an investigation into bullying and false expenses.

Councillor Peter Box, who was appointed as chairman of the board on Tuesday, said “things would be done” very differently as he pledged to be “open and transparent” to members of the public.

The body, which was launched more than a decade ago as a means to develop Yorkshire's tourism industry, came under fire earlier this year after its Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity and chairman Ron McMillan resigned from their roles.

In March, it was revealed that the body was carrying out an internal investigation into Sir Gary's behaviour after allegations of false expenses and bullying.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Former bosses, Sir Gary Verity, left, and Ron McMillan

However, before the investigation concluded, Sir Gary resigned from his role on health grounds.

Just weeks later, Mr McMillan resigned as chairman of Welcome to Yorkshire after previously claiming he would stand down if he was found to have "fallen short of the standards required", during investigations.

But following the conclusion of two independent investigations, one by accountancy firm BDO and law firm Clarion, the body pledged to "improve" after the discovery of failings.

On Tuesday, the tourism board confirmed they had the current Leader of Wakefield Council as the new chairman of Welcome to Yorkshire.

Speaking after his appointment, Cllr Box said: "I am extremely passionate about our county and all it has to offer and am happy to take this opportunity to build on the remarkable success that Welcome to Yorkshire has achieved, and more importantly regain public confidence in its future.

“There is no doubt that recent events have undermined Welcome to Yorkshire’s achievements and I am absolutely clear that we will be doing things very differently as the organisation becomes as open and transparent as possible.

“There is agreement amongst the county’s leaders that we need to continue to market Yorkshire as a great destination.

"It is my intention that Welcome to Yorkshire now starts a new chapter doing what it does best with a new focus on honesty, transparency and integrity and I look forward to leading this.”

Last week, Welcome to Yorkshire appealed to a joint council committee for £1m to help secure its finances.