National Galleries of Scotland


Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution Michael Russell has announced the appointment of Ben Thomson as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS).

Michael Russell said:

"With a major refurbishment programme in the pipeline for the National Portrait Gallery, this is an exciting time for the National Galleries. NGS is in safe hands with Ben Thomson as Chair and I look forward to seeing him working with the Trustees to ensure the organisation continues to go from strength to strength, delivering effectively and efficiently for the people of Scotland.

"I would like to record my personal thanks to outgoing Chair Sir Brian Ivory and for his work over the past nine years, not least for his commitment to the task of securing the future of the Bridgewater Collection in Scotland for the next generation."

The new Chair:

Ben Thomson is the Chairman of Edinburgh-based investment bank Noble Group which he joined in 1990, being Chief Executive from 1997 to 2007. He is also Chairman of both children's publisher Barrington Stoke and Reform Scotland, the non party aligned Scottish think tank. Mr Thomson has been a member of the Financial Services Advisory Board (FiSAB) since 2005. He is also a non executive director of the Edinburgh International Science Festival. A former Scottish international athlete and graduate in physics from Edinburgh University, he has been a Governor of the Patrons of the National Galleries of Scotland since 2003.

The appointment will be for four years and will run from April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2013.

This post is part-time and requires a time commitment of four days per month. It is not remunerated.

Mr Thomson holds no other Scottish Ministerial appointments.

The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) looks after one of the world's finest collections of Western art, ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day. These holdings include the National Collection of Scottish Art which NGS is proud to display in an international context. NGS has established itself as one of the leading galleries in the UK and Europe. This appointment comes at a very exciting time for NGS after securing Titian's Diana and Actaeon and the loan of Bridgewater Collection for the nation, and beginning the Portrait of the Nation refurbishment of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

This Ministerial public appointment was made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Scotland's Code of Practice.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees' political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public. Mr Thomson declared no political activity in the last five years.