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Board of Trustees

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is an executive non-departmental public body created under the National Heritage Act 1983 and sponsored by Defra. RBG Kew operates under a Board of Trustees and came into existence on 8 August 1983. From 1 April 1984 responsibility for many aspects of the organisation was transferred from the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (now Defra) to the Board of Trustees.

Code of best practice for Trustees

The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, comprises a chairman and 11 members. Ten members and the chair are appointed by the Secretary of State. Her Majesty the Queen appoints her own trustee on the recommendation of the Secretary of State.

Trustees do not receive any direct remuneration for their services, although reasonable travel and subsistence expenses can be reimbursed.

Photo of Marcus Agius


Marcus Agius

Marcus is chairman of the trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and chairman of the Foundation and Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Formerly: Chairman of Barclays PLC, chairman of Lazard London, deputy chairman of Lazard LLC, chairman of BAA PLC and a senior independent director of the BBC.



Photo of Nick Baird

Nick Baird

Nick is currently Group Corporate Affairs Director of Centrica plc. Before this, he had a long and varied career in Government. His roles included CEO of UK Trade and Investment, Director General in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office leading its work on Europe, the global economy and consular issues and the British Ambassador to Turkey from 2006 to 2009. Earlier in his career, Nick was Director for Immigration Policy in the Home Office, and held posts in the UK and overseas on European Union issues and the Middle East. He was a member of the Board of the FCO from 2009-2013, and of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills from 2011-2013. He is a non-executive Director of Nordanglia Education Inc, a member of the Advisory Council of the Sheffield University School of Management, and was on the Cole Commission which provided advice on exports to the Labour Party. 

Photo of Professor Liam Dolan
Professor Liam Dolan

Professor Liam Dolan is from Dublin and graduated with a degree in Botany at University College Dublin. He carried out PhD research on plant developmental genetics at the University of Pennsylvania. He then spent 3 years as a post-doctoral researcher at the John Innes Centre, Norwich before becoming an independent project leader. After 13 years running his own group in Norwich, Liam moved to the University of Oxford as the Sherardian Professor of Botany in 2009 and is now Head of the Department of Plant Sciences. Liam was awarded the President's Medal of the Society of Experimental Biology in 2001, was elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) in 2009 and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014.

Catherine Dugmore

A qualified Chartered Accountant, from 1988 to 2002 Catherine worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers latterly as an audit partner based in Johannesburg. Since 2004 she has pursued a non-executive career which provided her with a professional challenge and allowed her to contribute to society. Catherine is currently Chair of Victim Support, a position she took up in December 2014.  Her other non-executive roles include North Middlesex University Hospital and Commonwealth War Graves. Between 2004 and 2014 Catherine was a Vice Chair and Trustee of Action for Children.

Photo of Valerie Gooding

Valerie Gooding

After 20 years with British Airways, Valerie Gooding was for 10 years the Chief Executive of Bupa. She is currently Chairman of Premier Farnell, a Trustee of the Historic Royal Palaces and a non-executive Director of Vodafone and Tui Travel. At various times, she has been on the Boards of Sainsbury’s, Standard Chartered and BAA as well as the BBC, the British Museum and the Lawn Tennis Association.


Photo of Professor Sue Hartley

Professor Sue Hartley 

Professor Sue Hartley studied biochemistry at the University of Oxford before moving to the University of York for her PhD on plant defences against insect herbivores and then the University of Sussex where her research included projects on the factors maintaining the extraordinary biodiversity of tropical forests and the impact of climate change on plant resistance to herbivores. In 2009 she delivered the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, becoming only the fourth woman to do since they began in 1825. In 2010 she moved back to the University of York to become Director of the York Environmental Sustainability Institute, a new interdisciplinary research centre bringing together leading environmental researchers from a broad range of disciplines to tackle the key challenges facing humankind. In 2015 Sue was elected President of the British Ecological Society.

Photo of Ian Karet

Ian Karet

Ian Karet read Chemistry at Oxford before qualifying as solicitor. He is a partner at Linklaters where he specialises in intellectual property and technology. He has served on the board of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property and writes and speaks on intellectual property issues.

Photo of Sir Henry Keswick

Sir Henry Keswick

Joined the Jardine Matheson Group in Hong Kong in 1961 and became a Director of the group’s holding company in 1967, Managing Director in 1970 and its Chairman in 1972.  He was also Chairman of Hongkong Land, Dairy Farm and City Hotels, founder Chairman of Jardine Fleming and a Director of the Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corporation.  Upon his return to the UK in 1975 he took over as Chairman of Matheson & Co Ltd.  He joined the Foundation Board in 2009.  He is also a Trustee of the RBG Kew and was appointed The Queen’s Trustee from October 2015 for a two year term.

Photo of Derek Myers
Sir Derek Myers

Derek stepped down from a senior career in local government at the end of December 2013. He has most recently been Chief Executive of both the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Both authorities are regarded as amongst the best performing in local government. Derek has previously served on the Board of the Department of Health and chaired the UK professional body of his peers (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers). He has recently been appointed to the Advisory Board of Public Health England and chairs its Audit Committee. He is married with two children; has lived in Chiswick, near Kew Gardens, for the last 20 years, and is a longstanding Friend of Kew.

Photo of Professor Malcolm Press

Professor Malcolm Press

Professor Malcolm Press joined Manchester Metropolitan University as Vice-Chancellor in 2015, following an academic career at the Universities of Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham.  Malcolm is an ecologist and has written over 200 articles on the impacts of parasitic weeds on tropical crops in sub-Saharan Africa, the responses of Arctic ecosystems to environmental change, and the regeneration of tropical rain forests in the South East Asia. Malcolm is a Trustee of the WWF UK.  He has served as president of the British Ecological Society and as a member of the Council of the National Trust.

Photo of Nicola Spence

Professor Nicola Spence

Nicola is the Chief Plant Health Officer for Government at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Nicola has a BSc in Botany from the University of Durham, an MSc in Microbiology from Birkbeck College, University of London and a PhD in Plant Virology from the University of Birmingham. She is an expert in plant health and International plant trade and was previously the Chief Executive of SCY, a leading Innovation organisation based in York and the Chief Scientist at the Food and Environment Research Agency, where she is a Fellow. Nicola is a Director of Venturefest Yorkshire, a member of the University of York Court and a member of the Business, Innovation and Growth Panel for the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership

Photo of Jennifer Ullman

Jennifer Ullman

Jennifer Ullman is a landscape consultant, specialising in the management of public parks and gardens. Jennifer is currently a member of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s London Committee. Previous roles include Chief Parks Officer for Wandsworth Council, and Chairman of Greenspace.