Dr. Eddie Friel OBE
Director Europe, UK and Ireland
t. (+44) 01360 771 027
Eddie brings more than 40 years of experience as a visionary thinker in integrated approaches to city building, many with a strong focus on the role of culture and heritage in building rich, memorable places. He has helped communities around the world to use cultural assets as economic drivers. He was instrumental in supporting the transformation of the City of Glasgow in Scotland from a post-industrial city that was perceived as decaying to its designation as the first Cultural Capital of Europe As an expert in business development and investment attraction, he has advised communities in the United Kingdom, Ireland, United States, Europe and China on economic development issues.
Eddie has served as a senior executive with the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, where he secured record numbers of tourist visits. As the first Chief Executive of the Greater Glasgow Tourist Board in Scotland, Eddie spearheaded a strategy to use cultural tourism to drive the city’s economic regeneration. This work transformed Glasgow into a major global city and led to the city being named the Cultural Capital of Europe in 1990.
Prior to joining MDB Insight, Eddie served as the Expert in Residence at the Hospitality Research Center at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, New York, where he contributed to work identifying Buffalo’s competitive strengths as a city of architecture and design.
Eddie has served as the Chairman and President of the Niagara Experience Center in Niagara Falls, New York. He was instrumental in establishing the Niagara Global Tourism Institute as the focus of leadership of the tourism industry in Upstate New York. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Advancing Arts and Culture, established through the support of the John R Oishei, Margaret L Wendt and Baird Foundations to address the opportunities presented by cultural tourism in the Buffalo Niagara region.
Born in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, Eddie has lived in Dublin, Southampton, London, New York and Niagara Falls. He currently lives in Glasgow. He continues to serve on the boards of a variety of arts organizations and has been a regular broadcaster and writer on tourism and the arts. He has won many awards and was created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the 2004 New Year’s Honours List.