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RCA Council Welcomes Four New Members to Governing Body

Since December, the Council has seen the addition of four new prestigious members: Alan Leibowitz, Ed Williams, Professor Rachel Cooper OBE, all Co-Opted members, and Robert Careless, appointed by the Court. 

The Council is the governing body of the Royal College of Art, and is responsible for most senior appointments within the College, as well as all matters concerning property and finance, administrative policy, overall strategy and any issues affecting the general welfare of the College. The Council is made up of 34 members, who meet four times a year – three termly meetings and one strategy meeting.

Alan Leibowitz is Joint Managing Director of Dorrington Plc, a long-established property investment and development company that is active in both the commercial and residential sectors, with its activities primarily focused in London. He is also executive director of Hanover Acceptances Limited, Dorrington’s parent company, and is active on the boards of other Hanover companies. Leibowitz acts as director of the British Property Federation, as well as of JW3, the Jewish Community Centre, and as non-executive director of Alta Advisors Limited. He is a Trustee of The Architectural Association Foundation, and previously acted as Chair of Trustees for SPACE, the fine arts charity. Previously a long-standing member of CABE’s Design Review Panel, Leibowitz is currently a member of the London Advisory Committee of Historic England, and has been a member of the property committees of the National Theatre and the Wiener Library, advising on their redevelopment projects.

Ed Williams is CEO of Edleman UK and Ireland – the largest communications consultancy in the UK, with over 500 staff – where he joined the firm in late 2011 from the BBC, at which he had been Director of Communications from early 2008, as well as a member of the BBC’s management board. At the BBC he acted as senior advisor to the Director-General, Mark Thompson, and also led the group communications division. Prior to the BBC, Williams was Group Director of Communications at Reuters, where he worked to the CEO, Tom Glocer, to whom he was advisor during the Thomson-Reuters transaction. Williams additionally spent five years at Brunswick, the financial public relations firm, during which time he also worked on a variety of public affairs projects including speechwriting for Gordon Brown, advising General Wesley Clark during his evidence giving in the Milosevic trial in the Hague and acting as pro-bono adviser to the International Crisis Group, where he still serves on the international advisory council, as well as other NGOs. A graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Programme (AMP 180), Williams started his career in journalism, including five years in network television acting as News Editor at GMTV. He is a Board Member of the PRCA, a trustee of the Woolf Institute at Cambridge and a member of the Arthur Page Society. Williams is former Deputy Chairman of the English National Ballet, and has been listed by the Evening Standard as one of London’s 1,000 most influential.

Distinguished Professor of Design Management and Policy at Lancaster University and Director of ImaginationLancaster, Professor Rachel Cooper’s research interest include design thinking, management and policy, with a focus on socially responsible design and design for wellbeing. Cooper is a widely published author — books include Designing Sustainable Cities, Constructing Futures and Handbook of Wellbeing and the Environment (Wiley Blackwell) — as well as series editor of the Ashgate series Design for Social Responsibility, covering topics such as designing for sustainability, inclusivity, service design, sport, health, transport and policy. Cooper is currently working on Liveable Cities, an Engineering Physical Sciences Research council (EPSRC)-funded six-year research programme that will work to identify design and engineering solutions that will lead to low-carbon, resource-secure, future cities in which societal wellbeing is prioritised. Cooper also leads ‘The Creative Exchange’, an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Knowledge Exchange hub partnership with the Royal College of Art, which looks at the growth of the creative industries through the exploration of ‘digital public space’. Additionally, she is Co-Investigator of an AHRC project on Design Value in Innovation, co-Director of HighWire (Digital Economies Innovation Doctoral Training Centre), non-executive Director of the Future Cities Catapult and a member of the EPSRC Strategic Advisory Network. Recently, Cooper has been Lead Expert for the UK Government Foresight programme on the Future of Cities, as well as sitting on the Academy of Medical Sciences Working Group, which addresses ‘the health of the public 2040’, as well as the 2014 Blackett review on the Internet of Things. She is founding and past president of the European Academy of Design, founding editor of The Design Journal, and a trustee of the Research and Development Management Association (RADMA). Cooper has undertaken many advisory roles to national and international universities, government and non-governmental organisations, including previous membership of the EU Design and Innovation Leadership Board.

With over 30 years’ experience in finance, mergers & acquisitions and governance, Robert Careless was Group Finance Director of Charter International Plc, a multi-national mechanical and electrical engineering group with sales of £2 billion trading in over 120 countries — a position which he held until 2012. Prior, Careless was Group Finance Director and Company Secretary of Sketchley Plc, the retail and business services group. Having qualified with KPMG, he is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Careless, who graduated with an MA in physics from The Queen’s College, Oxford, is currently Chairman of the Trustees of the ESAB Group (UK) Pension and Life Assurance Scheme.

The Royal College of Art is thrilled at the addition of these new members to the Council and looks forward to their valuable contributions to this most essential body of College governance.