published June 18, 2012

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New Director at Kew


Photo courtesy BBC

The Trustees are pleased to announce the appointment of Richard Deverell to succeed Professor Steve Hopper as Director of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Richard will take up his post in mid-September 2012 following Steve’s departure after 6 years in post.

Richard joins Kew after nearly 20 years at the BBC where he achieved great success leading and managing new initiatives in such important areas as BBC News where he ran the news and sport websites and BBC Children’s where he was responsible for CBBC and CBeebies. He was also the Chief Operating Officer for BBC North and thus contributed to the delivery of one of the BBC’s most important new capital projects: the creation of Media City in Salford.

A Natural Sciences graduate from Cambridge University, Richard is familiar with the challenges and opportunities facing RBG Kew as a result of his 6 years as a trustee between 2003 and 2009 during which time, amongst other things, he chaired the Board Audit Committee.

Commenting, Richard Deverell said “My years as a Trustee reinforced my deep love for Kew as an institution and my belief in the role it can and must play in understanding plants and explaining their importance. Kew has a wealth of scientific expertise, possesses a number of the largest and most important botanical collections in the world and has, through its gardens at Kew and Wakehurst Place and its website, the means to showcase and explain the importance of plants and their sustainable use to the world.

I know what an enormous knowledge base Kew represents and just how many clever, hardworking and dedicated people work there. It is an honour and humbling to follow in the footsteps of Steve Hopper and the other giants who have been directors before him. I am full of ideas and commitment and have as my simple ambition that Kew will sustain and, ideally, improve upon its reputation as the World’s premier centre of excellence for botanical knowledge and further develop the care of its significant collections and heritage assets. I look forward to working with Kew’s staff, its Trustees, Defra, other scientific institutions in the UK and overseas, our local neighbours, our visitors and all Kew’s other stakeholders.”

Commenting Marcus Agius, Chairman of the Kew Trustees said “Changes at the top of an organisation such as this occur only infrequently, so the Trustees, with professional advisers and supported by Defra, have been totally focussed on identifying the best individual to succeed Steve Hopper. We are confident that we have found the person we are looking for in Richard Deverell. He will be an outstanding new leader for Kew and we greatly look forward to working with him on developing his vision for Kew in the years to come.

Steve Hopper has led Kew as Director and Chief Scientist with distinction for 6 years. We shall miss him when he and Chris return to Australia. We wish him well in his new role as Professor of Biodiversity at the University of Western Australia.”

Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at Defra, commented “I would like to congratulate Richard Deverell on his new role. Kew plays a vital part in promoting the importance of plants and providing expertise that’s used all over the world. I look forward to working with him in the future as Kew continues its good work.”