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James Hughes-Hallett Announced as New Courtauld Chairman

02 December 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Janine Catalano
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The Board of The Courtauld Institute of Art is delighted to announce that James Hughes-Hallett has been appointed Chairman as successor to The Courtauld’s first Chairman, Nicholas Ferguson, who retires from the post in July 2012 after ten years of outstanding leadership. James Hughes-Hallett is Chairman of John Swire & Sons Ltd and United States Cold Storage Inc, as well as a director of Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, Swire Pacific Ltd and James Finlay Ltd.


Born in 1949, James Hughes-Hallett graduated from Oxford University in 1970 with a degree in English Literature. He joined the Swire group in 1976 since when he has held various management positions in the group’s operations in Japan, Taiwan, Australia and Hong Kong. He was Chairman of Swire Pacific Ltd and Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd from 1999 to 2004 and assumed his current responsibilities in London in 2005. He joined the board of HSBC Holdings later that year as an independent non-executive director. He is a Fellow of the Society of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and an Honorary Fellow of both the University of Hong Kong and Merton College, Oxford. He is a trustee of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Dulwich Picture Gallery, The Attingham Trust and The Courtauld Institute of Art. During his time in Hong Kong he was a council member of the University of Hong Kong and the Academy of Performing Arts and a trustee of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum. He served as a trustee of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) until 2010.


James Hughes-Hallett’s experience in Asia chimes perfectly with the recent establishment of The Courtauld’s two new faculty teaching and research posts in Asian art history, a first major step in the expansion of its curriculum beyond the Western tradition which will begin at the start of the 2012 academic year. He is excellently placed to meet the challenges of the next ten years, during which The Courtauld plans to expand its curriculum and research further to embrace the arts of the world while continuing the essential work of maintaining the financial health of this leading centre for the study of art history, conservation and curatorship.


On being appointed James Hughes-Hallett said: "After three years as a trustee of The Courtauld Institute of Art, I am honoured and excited to take on the challenging role of Chairman. My predecessor Nicholas Ferguson has set the bar high but I greatly look forward to continuing his excellent work in taking this world-leading institute forward".


On behalf of The Courtauld’s Board, Nicholas Ferguson commented: "The Courtauld’s Board and staff have greatly enjoyed getting to know James in his capacity as trustee and look forward to working with him on taking forward the institution’s vision for the study of art history and conservation in this new role”.


In 2001 the then Advisory Board of the Courtauld, chaired by Sir Nicholas Goodison, made the brave decision to become an independent, self-governing college of the University of London, responsible for its own long-term sustainability. Nicholas Ferguson was appointed as Governor and, having worked closely with Sir Nicholas Goodison, Lord Rothschild and David Landau to raise an initial endowment fund, was invited to become the first Chairman of the independent Courtauld, a role which he has undertaken with steadfast commitment.


Nicholas Ferguson developed a full governance structure for The Courtauld and ensured its long-term financial viability by building up a significant endowment fund of some £32 million during what has been a difficult climate for raising money. This means that The Courtauld’s endowment is one of the largest in the country per student and will enable The Courtauld to educate the art historians and conservators of the future. As well as his outstanding chairmanship of The Courtauld and a brilliant career in the City, Nicholas Ferguson has been Chairman of the Institute of Philanthropy for nine years and in 2004 he set up the Kilfinan Group, a group of heads of listed companies who act as mentors to over 100 heads of charitable bodies.


Professor Deborah Swallow, Märit Rausing Director of The Courtauld, in paying tribute to Nicholas Ferguson said: "I cannot exaggerate the significance and value of Nicholas’ chairmanship during these past ten years which have seen The Courtauld re-assert its position not merely as the leading art history institution in the UK, but among the very best in the world. He has a personal passion for art and its history, and has acted as a great ambassador for the discipline. Furthermore, he and his wife Jane, a Courtauld alumna, have made very significant donations to The Courtauld. Under his leadership we have gathered many supporters and exceeded our recent fundraising goals. Our target was £8.25 million and £9.6 million was raised. This will attract a further £2.5 million to The Courtauld’s endowment through the HEFCE matched funding programme. There is also no question that it is his wonderful, compassionate, generous, infectious and demanding personality that has made this institution a joy for us all to be part of over the past decade.”

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