Royal Albert Hall appoints new president

One of the major items in Ian McCulloch's in-tray will be to resolve the charity's long-running dispute with the Charity Commission over its governance arrangements

Ian McCulloch
Ian McCulloch

The Royal Albert Hall has appointed the lawyer Ian McCulloch as president.

McCulloch, who was elected to the position by a vote of the charity’s 320 or so seat-holders, is a consultant for the law firm BDB Pitmans and has been a trustee of the hall since 2014.

He took up the role at the charity’s annual general meeting on Thursday, succeeding Jon Moynihan, who was president for the past four years.

McCulloch, whose appointment is for an initial year, told members at the AGM that he intended to concentrate on overseeing plans for improving the building, working towards its 150th anniversary celebrations in 2021 and resolving the charity’s dispute with the Charity Commission over its governance.

The commission has been trying for several years to persuade the hall to change its constitution, under which 19 of the 24 members on the ruling council are seat-holders.

It wants seat-holders to become a minority on the ruling council, thus removing the risk it has identified that members might put their own interests above those of the charity in their decision-making.

Because the hall has refused to comply, the commission first asked the Attorney General for consent to refer the case to the tribunal in September 2017.

The Attorney General at the time, Jeremy Wright, gave his consent in January 2018, but withdrew it when the hall threatened to seek a judicial review of his decision.

The commission then reformulated the questions it wanted to put to the tribunal and submitted them again. It awaits a response.

McCulloch said in a statement: "I am honoured to be taking over as president of one of the UK’s best-loved institutions at one of the most exciting points in its history."

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