A prominent north-east hospitality boss has quit his role with a trade body days after securing a deal to sell his city centre hotel.
Gary Atkinson has stepped down as chairman of Aberdeen City And Shire Hotels Association (ACSHA) with immediate effect.
He has resigned after four years leading the trade body, having sold off The Carmelite Hotel in Stirling Street.
Administrators were brought in to the Merchant Quarter business at the end of last week, with its sale secured almost immediately.
Concordia Hospitality bought the hotel for an undisclosed sum, saving 56 jobs.
His departure from Carmelite has prompted his resignation as head of the association, ACSHA have confirmed.
Andrew Martin will act as interim chairman until the association’s annual meeting in April.
The director of the Scottish Centre of Tourism praised the work of Mr Atkinson during his time in charge.
Mr Martin, who is also a Robert Gordon University lecturer, said: “He did an awful lot of good for the area and was fundamental in setting up Visit Aberdeen, which became Visit Aberdeenshire.
“Mr Atkinson also was prominent in bringing businesses into the city’s Merchant Quarter and worked tirelessly for ACSHA representing the region at industry events, tourism forums and regular meetings at Holyrood and Westminster.
“His hotel sort of suffered as a result of the work he was doing elsewhere.
“He worked hard for hotels in the region on issues including business rates and more, speaking to both the Scottish Government and councils on plans for a tourism levy.”
His resignation came as MSPs voted to continue a national relief scheme to mitigate the impact of business rates.
Hundreds of north-east firms have been affected by significant increases in the levy, with hospitality one of the worst-affected industries.
MSPs have since shelved plans to scrap the small business bonus scheme, which helps more than 40% of firms in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, according to The Federation of Small Businesses.
The trade body’s development manager in the north-east, David Groundwater, said: “Small businesses across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire already face challenging times with rising employment costs, squeezed margins and low confidence.
“While much of Scotland’s business rates system is old-fashioned and unnecessarily complicated, the removal of national support schemes, such as the small business bonus scheme would have dealt a hammer blow to the 9,970 receipts in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
“We are delighted to see MSPs listen to the small business community to recognise this was the wrong approach.”