Sir Laurie Magnus has been appointed Chairman of English Heritage by Culture Secretary Maria Miller. Sir Laurie has 35 years’ commercial experience and is currently Deputy Chairman of the National Trust, a position that he will relinquish shortly after his Chairmanship of English Heritage begins. He takes over as Chairman from Baroness Kay Andrews who has held the position since July 2009. His appointment comes at a difficult time as the Government announced earlier this summer that it was to become a charity by 2015.
Culture Secretary, Maria Miller said: Our unique heritage draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to our shores each year, from buildings such as the Tower of London to monuments from our ancient past such as Stonehenge. English Heritage is now entering a really exciting period in its development and new Government investment of £80 million, announced last month, means that we have a fantastic opportunity to transform the future of England’s heritage for generations to come. Sir Laurie’s long and distinguished career in finance, coupled with his passion for – and experience of – the heritage world, make him an ideal choice to carry this work forward.
Sir Laurie Magnus said: The heritage sector in England is a tremendous force for good. It celebrates our extraordinary national history, educating and inspiring millions, building bridges across generations and bringing employment and growth. English Heritage has an exceptional collection of historic properties and a proud record. Baroness Andrews has been a respected and effective Chairman and I look forward to continuing her great work.
Sir Laurie is an Oxford University graduate. He will be paid £40,000 for working up to two days a week for the Government body, £5,000 less than his predecessor, who had similar work commitments. English Heritage is suffering a 38 per cent cut in the grant it receives from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This has seen the organisation’s funding shrink from £131 million in 2010/11 to £89 million in 2014/15.