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Fishy Business

Bryanston was delighted to host Mark Fisher, known as Fish, the recently retired Chief Development Officer for Merlin Entertainment, as a guest speaker for A2 and A3 business students on 21 November.

He brought to life Merlin’s marketing and growth strategies for taking on Disney, growing from a small family business to the global operation they are now and how they prepared for and managed the COVID pandemic, closing all but one of their 150 plus sites. 

Since its formation, Merlin went from strength to strength, with the expansion of the business seeing the number of attractions rise from 19 in 1999 to more than 140 across 24 countries and four continents. The group developed or acquired 23 hotels and six-holiday villages around the world. Mark played a key role in the company’s formation, having initially joined the Tussauds Group in 1991 and later Merlin in 1996 under the Vardon name. Acting as a senior member of the management team at Merlin since the company’s inception, he played a key role in the Vardon buyout. Originally group marketing director, he has also held the managing director roles in all of Merlin’s Operating Divisions.

Rose Ings, Head of Business and Economics commented:

‘Mark’s talk was fascinating. It was an excellent opportunity for sixth formers to listen and ask questions to someone who has had a stella career and helped take a small business to be a global leader. Thank you to Mark for his time, his insights and for being truly inspiring!’

His advice to sixth formers was based on straightforward principles and relevant to any point in life: 

  • Love what you do and have fun!
  • Build honest relationships
  • Hire people better than you
  • Be true to yourself
  • Listen / Learn and earn respect
  • Don’t be frightened to try new things
  • Do what you say
  • Focus