Former Chancellor appointed charity chair

George Osborne

George Osborne (Photograph: Karwai Tang/WireImage)
George Osborne (Photograph: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

George Osborne has been named as the next chair of the British Museum.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, who earlier this year stepped down as editor of the Evening Standard newspaper, is a partner at the investment bank Robey Warshaw and chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

He will join the museum’s board on 1 September and succeed Sir Richard Lambert, the current chair, from October. The role is unpaid.

Osborne was the Conservative MP for Tatton between 2001 and 2017 and served as Chancellor from 2010 to 2016.

The British Museum Chair Search Committee, which is made up of seven trustees, looked for a leader with “a global perspective, with a demonstrable interest in culture and history, and a commitment to engaging local, national, and international audiences,” according to the museum.

Osborne said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the team at the British Museum – and so honoured to have had the opportunity to apply for this role, and to have been chosen by the trustees to become their chair.

“All my life I have loved the British Museum. To my mind, it is quite simply the greatest museum in the world. It’s a place that brings cultures together and tells the story of our common humanity. Richard Lambert will be a very hard act to follow, but I look forward to working with Hartwig [Fischer] and the impressive team he leads at the museum. I hope to bring my experience, energy and passion to this incredibly exciting role.”

Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum, said: “George Osborne knows the museum well and values the trust the museum enjoys around the world.

“He understands the active role the British Museum is playing in the recovery of the country, creating opportunities for everyone to discover the collection as their own – onsite, through loans to their local museums and online.

“Under the current leadership of Sir Richard Lambert, we have laid the groundwork for the masterplan, to embark on the biggest transformative project in our history, and to renew our displays.

“Together with my colleagues I look forward to working with George to continue to ensure that the British Museum is the most innovative, accessible and inspiring museum of the world, for the world.”

The museum’s board of trustees comprises up to 25 members.

One trustee is appointed by the Queen, 15 are appointed by the Prime Minister and five are appointed by the trustees.

The remaining four are appointed by the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport on the nominations of the presidents of the Royal Academy, the British Academy, the Society of Antiquaries of London, and the Royal Society.

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