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British Council Appoints Business and Culture Expert as Chair

LONDON.- Vernon Ellis, previously International Chairman of Accenture and currently Chairman of English National Opera, has been appointed as the British Council’s next Chair. He takes up the role at the end of March and succeeds Neil Kinnock who was Chair until July 2009 and Gerard Lemos who has been acting Chair since.

Vernon Ellis said “The British Council matters more than ever to the UK. That’s why I was so attracted to the role of Chair. For a secure and prosperous future we need to use our cultural and educational assets to build lasting links with people around the world. The British Council’s global network delivers relationships and programmes to do just that.

“It’s a huge honour for me to be chosen to Chair the organisation, particularly as it has bold plans to increase its work for Britain around the world. It’s a well respected organisation and I want its cultural relations work to become an even stronger part of the UK’s international relations. I look forward to working with the Trustees, the Executive and the wider British Council team to achieve that.”

Alan Buckle led the selection process as acting deputy Chair. He explained “Vernon brings a wealth of international and commercial experience to the British Council. The Trustees have voted unanimously that he is the ideal person to guide the organisation as it addresses the global challenges of the twenty first century. He will help us to deliver our ambitious programmes for transformation and growth. Under his leadership, we will achieve yet more impact in countries around the world which matter to the UK.”

Martin Davidson, Chief Executive, welcomed the appointment saying; “I am delighted that the Board of Trustees have, with the prior approval of the Foreign Secretary, selected Vernon Ellis as the new Chair. The Trustees feel that Vernon has the unique blend of commercial, cultural and NGO experience at the most senior level that make him the ideal choice for the British Council. He will take over at a time when those skills are particularly important as we continue to grow against the backdrop of a complex economic and international environment. Our Acting Chair, Gerard Lemos, and his predecessor, Neil Kinnock, have left a strong legacy that Vernon will build on.

“Personally, I am greatly looking forward to working with him and drawing on his depth of experience at a time of great opportunity for the British Council”.

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