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Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, is one of seven new appointments to the national funder’s governing board.

Photo of Elisabeth Murdoch
Elisabeth Murdoch

Seven new appointments have been made to Arts Council England’s (ACE) National Council, its governing board, including the daughter of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and a 26-year-old spoken word artist.

Elisabeth Murdoch – former Managing Director of Sky Networks and Chief Executive of Freelands Foundation, which last week announced a £1.5m fund for emerging visual artists – took up her four-year post on 1 December.

The appointments, made by Culture Secretary Karen Bradley, were announced today and include:

  • Michael Eakin, Chief Executive of Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and a former Executive Director at ACE
  • Catherine Mallyon, Executive Director, a Governor and a Board member of the Royal Shakespeare Company since 2012
  • Paul Roberts, Vice-Chair at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and at Nottingham Contemporary
  • Tessa Ross, CEO of film and television production company House Productions
  • Andrew Miller, the first Head of Creative Programming at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, who has been a popular contributor to ArtsProfessional, exposing barriers facing disabled people in the sector.

They are also joined by 26-year-old George Mpanga, better known as spoken word artist George the Poet. His appointment follows publication of a guide by London arts venue Roundhouse, backed by ACE, which called on arts organisations to set aside seats on their board for young trustees to tackle “assumed corporate righteousness” and improve the quality of decision making.

David Joseph, a current National Council member, has been reappointed for a three-year term.

Area Chairs

Also included in the announcement are the appointments of a series of Area Chairs, who join ACE for four-year terms.

CEO of Culture East Midlands and currently Director of The Centre for Culture and Creativity, Sukhy Johal becomes Midlands Area Chair.

In addition, Kate Willard, Head of Corporate Projects with Stobart Group becomes North Area Chair; Professor Roni Brown, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University for the Creative Arts, becomes South East Area Chair. Rosemary Squire has become South West Area Chair “by exception” for a 1-year term.

Speaking about the appointments, Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair at Arts Council England, said: “It is so important that boards address diversity in the process of recruiting new members. I am particularly pleased to welcome not only our youngest member to date, but also a National Council that has an equal number of men and women. This is work in progress. 

“We, and our sector must continually challenge ourselves about who is representing the public on the boards of organisations, so we can be confident we understand the interests of contemporary society.”