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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 Professor Jonathan Drori

Professor Jonathan Drori CBE

Professor Drori advises large organisations on outreach, media and technology strategy. He is a visiting Professor at Bristol University, specialising in misconceptions in science and in the uses of technology for learning. He is chairman of the UK Parliament’s Advisory Council on Public Engagement. Previously: Director of Culture Online at the Department for Culture Media and Sport, Head of Commissioning for BBC Online, Head of Digital Media and Learning Channels, Executive Producer and Director.

Photo of Valerie Gooding

Valerie Gooding

Valerie will join the Kew Board on the 1st October 2014. 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 All England Tennis Club.

Photo of Geoffrey Hawtin

Dr Geoffrey Hawtin

An expert in the conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources, Geoffrey Hawtin was the founding director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, an institution with which he is still closely associated. During his career he has also been Director General of two research institutes of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR): Bioversity International in Rome, Italy and the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) in Colombia. He is currently vice Chairman of CIAT’s Board of Trustees.

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 Henry Keswick

Sir Henry Keswick

Chairman of Jardine Matheson, Director of Rothschilds Continuation Holdings AG. Formerly, Chairman of the National Portrait Gallery, President of the Royal Highland Agriculture Society, proprietor of The Spectator, and member of the National Trust Council.

Photo of George Loudon

George Loudon

Chairman and Director of a number of investment and other firms including Altius Holdings Ltd. George is former Director of Midland Bank Plc and former Vice-Chairman of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, former Director of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, former Board member of the Rijksakademie Beeldende Kunst (Amsterdam) and former Trustee of both the Galapagos Conservation Trust, and London Library.

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 of Ecology and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Birmingham. Research conducted on interactions between parasitic plants and their hosts, environmental change in Arctic ecosystems and tropical rainforest ecology. Recent roles include presidency of the British Ecological Society (2007-09) and membership of the Natural Environment Research Council’s Science and Innovation Strategy Board (2007-10). Currently Deputy Chair of the Research Excellence Framework Biological Sciences sub-panel.

Photo of Nicola Spence

Professor Nicola Spence

Nicola is the Chief Executive of SCY, a leading innovation organisation based in York. 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 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.

Photo of Sir Ferrers Vyvyan

Sir Ferrers Vyvyan

Owner of Trelowarren Estate. Formerly Chairman of the Royal Institution of Cornwall (RIC); High Sheriff of Cornwall; DL; Architectural Association Post Graduate Diploma in Conservation of Garden and Historic Landscapes.