Skip to main content
You are here
Facebook icon
Pinterest icon
Twitter icon

Executive Board

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is run by an Executive Board.

The Executive Board is the key decision-making board that oversees the operations and delivery of RBG Kew’s strategy and plan.

The Executive Board meets formally once a month and informally in between.

The Executive Board is supported by a Secretariat team within the Strategy & External Affairs Directorate.


Richard Deverell - Director RBG Kew

Richard Deverell is the 15th Director of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Richard joined Kew in September 2012 and succeeds Professor Stephen Hopper. Richard joined Kew after nearly 20 years at the BBC. He achieved great success leading and managing new initiatives in BBC News, running both 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.


Dr Lynne Guyton - Co-CEO (interim), Kew Foundation

Lynne joined Kew Foundation as Director of Operations in September 2013. Drawing on strategic, managerial and financial experience from previous leadership roles in the private sector, Lynne has lead on all operational aspects to support fundraising for, and leadership of UK and global projects at Kew.  Prior to joining Kew Lynne worked in Financial Services for 18 years – primarily in Investment Banking leading Derivatives businesses.  Lynne holds a PhD in Economics from Cambridge University.  She is a Patron for the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith and lives in Chiswick with her husband, two lively young sons and even livelier springer spaniel.

Alison Purvis, FRSA - Co-CEO (interim), Kew Foundation

Alison joined the Kew Foundation as Director of Development in August 2014 after nine years leading all fundraising at the Natural History Museum, London. Alison brings over 15 years of experience in philanthropic, institutional and corporate fundraising and International NGO development work. She has developed strategies and focused resources to deliver exceptional year on year results in start-up and mature environments. She has expert knowledge of non-profit fundraising within complex, global scientific research organisations working in over 100 countries with public, scientific and educational objectives. Alison is a FRSA and holds her BA from St Lawrence University in New York and has resided in East Twickenham with her husband and son for 15 years.

Tony Sweeney -  Director of Wakehurst

Tony has a long career in the cultural, creative and museums sector in the UK and Australia. Most recently, he was Director & CEO of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne, an innovative museum dedicated to art, film and contemporary digital culture. During a ten-year stint he established ACMI as one of the most-visited cultural attractions in Australia, through its dynamic program of exhibitions, film, live events, education and digital engagement programmes. Prior to joining ACMI, he directed an award-winning masterplan re-development of the National Media Museum (formerly the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television) in Bradford, which is part of the national Science Museum Group.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Tony has a keen interest in connections between the arts, science, creativity and learning to engage people in cultural and environmental issues. Tony has a long-standing love of the natural and created landscape, environment, design and heritage in urban and rural settings.

Richard Barley - Director of Horticulture

Richard Barley is a qualified horticulturist and was formerly Chief Executive Officer of Open Gardens Australia. In his previous role as a Director within the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne,  Richard developed a deep understanding of the need to balance a world-class horticultural visitor experience with maintaining and caring for an important scientific living collection.

Richard holds dual British and Australian citizenship and has spent much of his career at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, as well as holding a number of other roles including as senior fellow at the University of Melbourne, lecturer, member of expert committees, international tour guide  and show judge. He has a Degree in Applied Science Horticulture, from Burnley College (University of Melbourne).

Jill McLaughlin - Director of Corporate Services

Jill McLaughlin is Director of Corporate Services responsible for delivery of the professional services that cross the organisation: Estates, Finance and Procurement, HR, IT, Legal, Strategic Projects and Planning, Risk and Safety. Jill commenced this role in July 2013. Previous experience includes Special Projects Director and Planning & Resources Director at BFI, and a number of senior HR and General management positions in business process outsourcing companies and contract catering. Jill is Chair of Governors of a Community Secondary School in Islington.

Professor Kathy Willis - Director of Science

Professor Katherine (Kathy) J. Willis is Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Kathy is also Professor of Biodiversity in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford and an adjunct Professor in Biology at the University of Bergen. She previously held the Tasso Leventis Chair of Biodiversity at Oxford and was founding Director of the Biodiversity Institute.

Kathy’s research interests focus on the relationship between long-term ecosystem dynamics and environmental change. Recent work has also focused on the development of technologies to measure and derive economic and ecological values for biodiversity. Kathy has published extensively and has authored or co-authored over 100 scientific publications, including the landmark book The Evolution of Plants, now in its second edition.

Sandra Botterell - Director of Marketing and Commercial Enterprise

Sandra’s career to date  included extensive experience in commercial marketing, including Premier Inn, followed by seven years as Head of Marketing at Historic Royal Palaces, then as Commercial Director for Royal Museums Greenwich. During this time she increased commercial revenue and delivered enhanced visitor programmes. Sandrais responsible for all marketing and communications, brand, design, digital media and commercial activities including events and festivals programming and works with colleagues across the organisation to strengthen the overall visitor offer at Kew Gardens.




David Cope – Director of Strategy & External Affairs

David is responsible for building Kew’s external reputation and relationships across all our stakeholders, facilitating changes to strategic plans, and ensuring the effective governance of Kew. David joined Kew after eight years working in a variety of change management, strategy, analysis, performance improvement and policy roles in Defra and the Home Office.

David trained as a biologist, conducting his PhD and postdoctoral research on the population dynamics and conservation of herbivores. David aims to bring his passion for science and conservation along with his developed knowledge of strategy formulation and implementation and his understanding of the workings of government in order to support Kew in achieving its potential to make an even greater positive impact in the world.

Fern Stoner - Director of Finance

Fern qualified as a chartered accountant with KPMG.  Subsequently she has held finance roles in both the commercial and not for profit sectors, most recently at the National Theatre.  She joined Kew as Finance Director in September 2013 and was appointed to the Executive Board in June 2016.  Fern is also a trustee for Youth Music Theatre UK, a small musical theatre charity working with young people across UK.

Ian McKetty - Chief Information Officer

Ian McKetty joined Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in February 2017, bringing with him over 19 years of senior IT leadership experience in both private and public sectors.  Most recently, Ian spent 5 years as Chief Technology Officer at City University London and during this time, Ian led the far-reaching transformation activities which delivered outstanding, highly-available and highly-resilient infrastructure services. Ian’s private sector experience includes 6 years as Technical Services Director at Genesys Conferencing Ltd., where he was responsible for the provision of ‘always-on’ IT, web and telecoms services.  Ian lives in a leafy suburb on the Hertfordshire/Middlesex border with his wife, 3 (unfeasibly loud) children and many, many guitars.