Ex-Merlin chief Nick Varney receives knighthood

Nick Varney, Merlin Entertainments

Former Merlin Entertainments chief executive Nick Varney has been given a knighthood in the King’s Birthday Honours.

The 60-year-old stood down as Merlin boss in November last year, after 23 years in the position.

He was quoted in the London Evening Standard newspaper as saying the honour showed the ‘importance’ of the hospitality sector.

“I’m incredibly humbled and proud to have been awarded this accolade,” Varney said.

“Following the difficulties the hospitality and tourism industry experienced during the pandemic, this knighthood reinforces the importance of our sector to the UK.

“I’m proud to have played my part in that and will continue to champion and support this amazing industry.”

Varney was replaced at Merlin by veteran American sports businessman Scott O’Neil in late 2022.