Classic FM's Henley to be ACE chief executive

Classic FM's Henley to be ACE chief executive

Darren Henley will take on the role of chief executive of Arts Council England.

Henley takes over from Alan Davey, who is leaving the organisation after seven years.

Since 1999, Henley has led Global’s Classic FM. He is the author of 27 books about musics and arts, and authored two government reviews into music and cultural education. From 2007 to 2010 he chaired the Music Manifesto, a government-backed national campaign to improve music education.

Henley’s reviews for the government resulted in a range of new initiatives, including England’s first National Plan for Music Education, a new network of Music Education Hubs, the Museums and Schools programme and the creation of the National Youth Dance Company.

Henley said: “Public investment has ensured the vitality and creativity of England’s cultural life. Arts Council England and the artists, performers and institutions we invest in contribute to who we are as a nation. I’m privileged to have the opportunity to lead this important organisation and support the extraordinary creativity and innovation that exists across the country in arts organisations, museums, galleries and libraries.”

He continued: “Alan Davey leaves quite a legacy. He made sure that the Arts Council enabled great work to happen. I want to build on that by working with our national chair and the chairs of our area councils to champion the importance of art and culture in so many aspects of our lives – personal, social and economic. Of course we must be responsive and adapt to the world around us, but the foundation stone is laid in terms of the Arts Council’s 10 year strategy.”

Sir Peter Bazalgette, chair of Arts Council England, said:  “The role of c.e.o. of the Arts Council requires a broad range of skills including a deep well of leadership experience, the ability to navigate the corridors of Whitehall and Westminster and a determination to make art and culture matter for individuals, for our communities and our country. Darren has already had a significant influence on the cultural education policy of this country and is a worthy successor to Alan Davey.”

No start date has yet been set for Henley to begin in his new role.