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RCA Council Welcomes Prestigious New Members to Governing Body

The Royal College of Art’s Council has recently seen the addition of three new members – Michael Birshan, Richard Petrie and Sigrid Rausing. They join recent appointments from 2017 – Saffron Aldridge, Mike Forster, Dr Tristram Hunt and Catherine Parry – and the Council’s longer standing members.

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.

The Council’s newest members include Sigrid Rausing, who is the Publisher of Granta Publications and the Editor of Granta Magazine. She has a PhD in Social Anthropology from University College London and has published several books including Mayhem (2017) shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize in spring 2018, and Everything is Wonderful (2015) short-listed for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize. Rausing has received Honorary Doctorates from the Open University and the University of Kent for services to publishing and human rights, and was honoured with the Morrell Fellowship from the University of York. She is an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics and of St Antony's College, Oxford.

The other new appointments to the Council are Michael Birshan, who is a Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, where he advises and supports the leaders of private, public and social sector institutions on their management challenges, and Richard Petrie whose industry sector experience is grounded in engineering and construction contracting and who has broad experience across a range of capital-intensive sectors.

New Council members who have been advising the College since 2017 include Saffron Aldridge, who was Editor at Large for Tatler magazine and the Women's Editor at GQ magazine. Her passion for art and design led to her co-curating the hugely successful exhibition of her father’s work, Alan Aldridge, the Man with Kaleidoscope Eyes (2008) at the Design Museum and she is a great supporter of charities including Art Room for Children, the Royal Marsden Hospital, GOSH and the Design Museum.

Also joining the Council in 2017 was Dr Tristram Hunt, who has been Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum since February 2017, before which he was the Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central and the Labour Party’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education; Catherine Parry, who is the Chief Financial Officer for the Global Functions of HSBC and was previously Head of Finance at London Stock Exchange plc and Head of Finance at Schroders plc; and Mike Forster who has extensive experience in the Airports and Aviation sector, particularly at BAA where he sat on the Executive Committee and led the design of Terminal 5 and the third runway projects.

The College looks forward to the valuable contributions from all the Council’s new members, and is extremely grateful for the continuing support and guidance from its longer standing members, who include: Professor Richard Burdett CBE, Robert Careless, Professor Rachel Cooper OBE, Jennifer Duvalier, Alan Leibowitz, Caragh Merrick, Professor Magdalene Odundo OBE, Patrick Plant, Baroness Rebuck DBE, Tom Van Oss and Ed Williams, alongside Lady Ritblat OBE who has a long association with Tate, including involvement in acquisitions, international relations and events organisation; Dame Marjorie Scardino who was chief executive of The Economist Group, in America and worldwide, Chief Executive of Pearson plc, and in 2003 was made a Dame of the British Empire; and John Studzinski CBE, Vice Chairman and a Senior Managing Director of Blackstone, who in 2008 was named Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the Arts. 

Full biographies of all lay members of the council can be found here: Council: Lay Member Biographies