The Director-General of the National Trust, Hilary McGrady, informs NT staff and members that the National Trust’s Council has appointed René Olivieri as our new Chair.
” René will take up the post in February and has pledged to bring his unique experience in both culture and nature to become a forceful advocate for the Trust. He is passionate about using his time in the role to preserve and promote cultural heritage while tackling climate change and nature loss.
René has held a number of non-executive roles in both cultural and natural heritage, including as Interim Chair of National Lottery Heritage Fund, a member of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, and Chair of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. He has also chaired the RSPCA since 2019.
He has a background in both the commercial and non-profit sectors, following a career first as Editorial Director then as Chief Executive of the publisher Blackwell. René and his family live in a Grade II listed house and share their gardens with the public during the spring and summer months in aid of charity.
We started the process to appoint a new Chair on Tim Parker’s decision to step down in May after seven years in the position. The appointment is made by our Council, which is made up of 36 members with a range of expertise in everything from education and agriculture to art and the built environment.
Half of Council members are elected directly by members and half are appointed by bodies which have a connection to the Trust and have been selected by members. The Chair is the most senior volunteer at the charity and will head the Board of Trustees and the Council.
I am looking forward to working with René and am confident that his skills and background across both the heritage and environment sectors will make an outstanding contribution to our work. I hope you will join me in welcoming René to his new role.
René Olivieri, our new NT Chair or Senior Volunteer, has a special link with Belgium, as he wrote in his message to introduce himself to NT members on his first official working day, Feb 1, 2022:
“At the age of 17, I had my view of the world changed forever by spending a year living with a Catholic family in Flanders. With the wonderfully preserved city of Bruges on my doorstep, I became fascinated with medieval history and early ecclesiastical architecture.”