The British Museum

National museums appoint trustees

Gwendolyn Smith, 23.04.2014
Natural History Museum and British Museum announce new chairs
Richard Lambert, a former editor of the Financial Times and a financial adviser, has been appointed chairman of the British Museum, London.

Lambert starts in July and will take over from Niall FitzGerald, who steps down after eight years.

Steven Green, a life peer in the House of Lords, recently became the chairman of London’s Natural History Museum. He is a former trustee of the British Museum and was the minister for trade and investment jointly at the Foreign Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills until last December.

Elsewhere, Sir John Soane’s Museum in London has appointed the architect David Chipperfield as the representative trustee of the Royal Academy and the art dealer Katrin Bellinger Henkel as the representative trustee of the Royal Society of Arts.

As previously reported in Museums Journal, the government has been accused of appointing Conservative supporters to key roles in the public sector. This was sparked by the replacement of Liz Forgan as chair of Arts Council England in March 2012 by media tycoon Peter Bazalgette.

Controversy grew after it was revealed this January that the Labour peer Sally Morgan would not be appointed for a second three-year term as chair of education watchdog Ofsted.

Bellinger Henkel’s appointment at the Sir John Soane’s Museum is in line with the Cabinet Office drive to raise the proportion of women on public boards, with a target of 50% of public appointments to be female by 2015.

The trustee chairs of the 12 national museums are currently all male.

Bellinger Henkel said that she was “honoured” by her appointment and the chance to “uphold the personal and eclectic vision of Soane as architect, artist and collector”.

She added: “The museum remains relevant today, entrancing, educating and inspiring visitors. I am looking forward to bringing Soane’s enthusiasms to a wider audience.”