John lives in the heart of Bedford and is married with one son. He has over 25 years of executive business and leadership experience gained in leading global companies like Cadbury Schweppes, Diageo and Hilton. John also has over 30 years political experience, which started when he joined the Young Conservatives in Luton, where he grew up.
Members of the three Conservative Associations, who live in the Borough, selected Mr Guthrie at a hustings-style event at Bedford School on Friday night. A shortlist of four candidates each took turns to give a presentation and answer questions in front of an audience of a few hundred members. Members then voted on their preferred candidate until the winner secured over 50% of the vote.
Speaking after the event, John said:
“I am thrilled and delighted to have been chosen by Members to stand as the Conservative candidate next May. This campaign will be characterised by a lot of energy and enthusiasm. The Conservative Party is strong across the Borough and will leave will people a positive and exciting blueprint for the future.”
Commenting on the result, Alistair Burt, MP for North East Bedfordshire said:
“There has been an excellent field of candidates and I am delighted with John’s selection. I have known John for twenty five years – he is a tremendously talented individual and would provide great leadership and direction to the Borough.”
Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford and Kempston added:
“I am delighted with John’s selection. John has the experience the Borough needs to help us emerge strongly from this recession and the skills to be a great Mayor. I am looking forward to the campaign.”
Three constituencies fall within the Borough of Bedford; Bedford, parts of North East Bedfordshire and parts of Mid Bedfordshire.
The four candidates shortlisted to take part in Friday’s selection meeting were Parvez Akhtar, John Guthrie, Roger Rigby and Tom Wootton.
John lives in the heart of Bedford. He has one son and has recently celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary. Before moving to the town nearly three years ago, he lived in the Bedfordshire villages for 20 years.
Most recently, he was responsible for the international HR team in Hilton – a business employing 75,000 people globally and with a multi-billion pound turnover. His areas of greatest expertise are in leading senior teams, managing large budgets, implementing complex programmes and designing world class customer care programmes.
John’s political experience stretches over 30 years. He was National Chairman of the Young Conservatives in the mid 1980s before becoming National Chairman of the leading pressure group – the Tory Reform Group – and the party’s Parliamentary Candidate in Leicester West. He was in charge of the Conservative party’s International Office (responsible for relations with centre-right parties throughout the world) and helped direct the European Elections’ campaign in 1994. Earlier this year, he played a central role in the Conservative Party’s successful General Election campaign in Bedford and Kempston.