A look back at the life of Frank McCusker by Ski+board Editor Colin Nicholson
Frank McCusker, who died of a heart attack on a cycling trip near his home in June, had a reputation in the ski industry as a tough-talking Glaswegian. But this does little credit to his charm and perseverance - he was also a good listener and critical thinker. He joined the Ski Club as its chief executive in 2012 on a mission to rethink how things were done, and fair play was his motto.
So he overhauled the Ski Club’s insurance policies, managing to offer market-leading prices while nonetheless catering to older skiers and those with existing health conditions. The result was a huge increase in demand and income for the club.
With the new Platinum level of membership, which included insurance, he also brought lapsed and new members into the fold, raising membership levels for the first time in years.
After a Ski Club Leader was arrested in France in 2014, he set up the Instructor-led Guiding programme to ensure members could still ski together, while challenging the arrest in the French courts.
He also brought together key figures in the ski industry to set up the British Snowsports Fund to finance British athletes and encourage wider participation in skiing, particularly for those who might not be able to afford it otherwise.
Not all his projects came to fruition. In one case a would-be partner was found to have been 'economical' with the truth. Sorting out the fallout, he was overheard one evening on the phone to his children, Archie, 14, and Molly, 11, explaining why he was having to work late, finishing with the words: “You see, that is why we must always be honest.”
He was brought up on a farm in South-West Scotland, the fourth of five children, and studied agricultural economics at Glasgow University, in between indulging his passion for sport. He was a Celtic fan and keen rugby player, hobbling into his first interview at Christian Salvesen nursing an injury. He got the job and it was while working there that he met his wife Stephanie.
He went on to Carlson Marketing Group, where he developed his passion for surveys and particularly loyalty measurement, which stayed with him. Frank was a 'people' person and after a brief stint running a consultancy from his home near Banbury it was a relief for him to join the Ski Club.