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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.



Photo of Richard Deverell

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.


Photo of MIchael Murphy

Michael Murphy - CEO, Kew Foundation

Michael Murphy is the Chief Executive of Kew Foundation, an independent registered charity set up to raise funds for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He has over twenty years experience in charity management in the United States, the Republic of Ireland and the UK. He joined Kew Foundation from The Royal Society where he directed its successful 350th Anniversary Campaign.

Prior to coming to the UK, Michael was the Deputy Chief Executive of the Dublin City University Educational Trust in Ireland. In the United States, Murphy has worked at Antioch College in Ohio where he served as Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid and at Planned Parenthood of Chicago and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Photo of Andy Jackson

Andy Jackson - Director of Wakehurst Place

Graduate of the Kew Diploma in Horticulture and a professional gardener since 1980., Andy's specialist areas include the conservation and use of plant genetic resources with a particular focus on trees from the temperate regions of the world and the flora of Britain and northwest Europe.

Andy is a passionate conservation biologist committed to increasing knowledge and understanding of the value of plants to society through research and education.

Photo of Richard Barley
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).

Photo of Jill McLaughlin

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.

Photo of Kathy Willis
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.

Photo of Gay Coley

Gay Coley - Director of Public Programmes

Gay is in charge of the on-site visitor experience and public programmes for Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. This includes the key areas of Library, Art & Archives, Engagement & Interpretation, Content & Media, Marketing, Participation, Visitor Services, and Commercial Activities (Enterprises).  Prior to joining Kew, Gay was the Executive Director of The Eden Project, the Millennium Landmark Project, leading the funding and all operations for the first fifteen years. 

As a former Finance Director at the University of Plymouth, with experience in the City, Gay brings not only a passion for education, engaging and inspiring the public with the importance of plants, but significant commercial expertise.

Photo of Monique Simmonds

Professor Monique Simmonds OBE - Director of Kew Innovation Unit

Monique is Director of the Kew Innovation Unit and Head of Sustainable Uses of Plants Group. Monique has over 30 years experience of research into different aspects of plant and fungal chemistry, with an emphasis on evaluating with industry the economic value of natural products. She is on the Advisory Board for the International Foundation of Science, Darwin Initiative, Forestry Commission and Chairs the Sir Harold Hillier’s Garden Advisory Committee.

As Director of the Kew Innovation Unit Monique leads the coordination of cross-directorate projects that generate income for RBG Kew through the utilisation of the breadth of expertise that RBG Kew staff have in different aspects of plant science and horticulture, based on their research of the diversity of the RBG Kew collection.



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.