New Chair of Council at the Royal College of Art

Baroness Rebuck, DBE, is to be the new Chair and Pro-Provost of Council at the Royal College of Art. Gail Rebuck, who was appointed for a term of four years, will succeed current Chair Sir Neil Cossons, who will retire at the end of February 2015. 

 The Council is the governing body of the Royal College of Art. It is empowered by the Royal Charter to nominate to the Court a person for appointment as the Provost, to appoint the Chairman of the Council or Pro-Provost and the Rector, to nominate to the Court a person for appointment as the Treasurer, to appoint, on the recommendation of the Senate, the Pro-Rector (Academic) and Pro-Rector (Operations), and to be involved in the appointment of the Auditors. The membership of 34 is made up principally of lay (non-College) members and includes a number of staff and Student Union President and Vice-President. 

In addition the Council is responsible for all matters concerning property and finance, for administrative policy, for overall strategy and for any issues affecting the general welfare of the College. 

Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the Royal College of Art said: 'I am really delighted that Baroness Rebuck has accepted the position of Chair of the College Council.  Gail is well known for her leadership skills and her belief in the transformative powers of education. She will be a formidable advocate for the RCA and all of its values. I would also like to thank Sir Neil Cossons for the invaluable support and advice he has given to me over the past five years, and to the College more broadly over several decades.”

As Chair of Council, Baroness Rebuck will lead Council in its responsibility for managing the affairs of the College. Council's responsibilities include determining the College’s objectives and strategy, and ensuring the effective discharge of the College’s functions and the most efficient use of its resources. 

A member of the RCA’s Council since 1999, Baroness Rebuck, DBE, is Chair of Penguin Random House UK and sits on the company’s Global Board of Representatives.  She is also a member of Bertelsmann’s General Management Committee.  She was Chair and CEO of Random House from 1991–2013 and a Non-Executive Director of BSkyB from 2002–12, where she chaired the Bigger Picture Committee on behalf of the Board. Gail is currently a Non-Executive Director of Koovs Plc, a fashion etailer aimed at the Indian market.

Gail also chairs the Cheltenham Literature Festival and the Quick Reads charity, part of the UK’s World Book Day charity which she founded.  She is a Trustee of the National Literacy Trust.  Gail was voted Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year in 2009; was awarded a CBE in 2000; a DBE in 2009 and was appointed as a Labour Peer to the House of Lords in 2014.

Commenting on her appointment, Baroness Rebuck said: 'Art and design education is a cornerstone of the creative industries, which is why I am really looking forward to my new role as Chair of Council with the College I know and love. This is an exciting time for art and design in the UK, and the RCA both leads and inspires – at all levels.' 

Sir James Dyson, Provost of the Royal College of Art added: 'It is excellent news. Gail is a champion for Britain’s creative industries. I’m sure her contribution will have a significant influence on the RCA and its students.'