Baroness Gail Rebuck has been appointed as the new chair of the board of Somerset House Trust.
Rebuck will take up her role formally on 1st January 2022, succeeding entrepreneur, writer and philanthropist William Sieghart. She remains a director of Penguin Random House.
She became a Labour peer in 2014 and is a member of the House of Lords select committee on communications and digital. Rebuck also founded the book charity World Book Day and Quick Reads for adult literacy. Somerset House said she was appointed following an open recruitment process led by the trustees and the recruitment consultant Odgers Berndtson.
Rebuck said: “Somerset House is an important part of our national and London's cultural life and I am honoured to have been appointed chair of its dynamic trust. Every time I walk into the magnificent courtyard, I feel moved by its history and inspired by the energy and creativity of its events and exhibitions. I believe Somerset House will become even more significant as we emerge from this pandemic curating new and transformative work for all to experience. Somerset House is also an ambitious interdisciplinary working arts centre, home to a community of artists, musicians, designers, scientists and makers — all creative entrepreneurs —who showcase the creative industries as the industries of the future, driving innovation and tackling global challenges while lifting the spirit. I am so excited to be joining this unique artistic centre.”
Jonathan Reekie, director of Somerset House Trust, added: “We are immensely excited that Gail has agreed to join us. Somerset House Trust is still a relatively young organisation but we have ambitious plans as London’s working arts centre, promoting artistic and social innovation and creating a new sustainable blueprint for arts and culture. I am confident that with Gail’s huge experience in the creative industries and especially at the Royal College of Art, she will bring a lot to Somerset House’s cross-disciplinary cultural programme and our on-site creative community, the largest of its kind in the UK.”
Judy Gibbons, deputy chair, commented: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank William Sieghart for the enormous contribution he has made to Somerset House during his time as chair. William’s creativity, energy, wise counsel and leadership has helped us to become the thriving and multifaceted working arts centre we are today and to navigate the many challenges brought by the global pandemic."