Vikki Heywood CBE to be appointed next Chair of RSA

The RSA is delighted to announce that, subject to ratification by RSA Fellows at the RSA AGM on 3 October, Vikki Heywood is to become the next Chair of the society, taking over from entrepreneur Luke Johnson, the RSA's current Chair.

Vikki Heywood was appointed as Executive Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2003. The company has a turnover of approximately £35 million per year and  employs 700 staff.  As Executive Director she has overseen the company producing 20 productions a year from its home in Stratford-upon-Avon including the West End smash hit "Matilda" and the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival as part of London 2012.

She also oversaw the transformation of the company's Stratford home and launched two new businesses: The Arden Hotel in Stratford upon Avon and Teaching Shakespeare, an online teacher training programme with Warwick University.  Vikki raised £110 million to support the RSC's capital programme and through building business and brand partnerships generated £5 million additional income to support production development and education programmes.

Prior to her appointment at the RSC, Vikki was Joint Chief Executive of the Royal Court Theatre. She is a board member of the Society of London Theatre, the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and a member of Warwick University Council – and an RSA Fellow. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Birmingham and became a Doctor of Letters in December 2009.

She was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2012 for services to theatre.

Commenting on the appointment, RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor said:

"The RSA is going from strength to strength and, in Vikki Heywood, the Board has chosen a leader with the enthusiasm, skills and a great reputation as someone who drives positive change. Following the fantastic contribution made by Luke Johnson, I look forward to working with Vikki to take the Society to even greater heights."

Current Chair of the RSA Luke Johnson said:

"Vikki's experience in running large complex organisations such as the RSC and her work with local enterprise partnerships will put her in good stead to chair the RSA. The Society is in good health, with a recently refurbished house, committed and capable staff and a growing, engaged Fellowship.

I wish Vikki all the best in building on the RSA's excellent work in education as well as the society's renewed focus on the field of enterprise – a topic that is both true to the society's roots and vital for these complex and challenging times.

I believe that civic associations such as the RSA, with its focus on innovation and enterprise, its independence and combination of practical action and ideas are needed more than ever. I will continue to watch the RSA's progress with sincere interest and all good wishes for the future."

Commenting on her appointment, Vikki Heywood said:

"Following the many achievements of Luke Johnson, I am delighted to have been invited to become the Chair of the RSA.  I am looking forward enormously to taking up my post in October and working with Matthew Taylor, the staff, Board and Fellowship to fulfill the ambitions of this influential organisation.  

The 27,000 strong Fellowship of the RSA represents a talented and diverse community, who rightly expect a great deal from their society.  I am committed to exploring every opportunity to work together to achieve our stated ambition of a more principled and prosperous society."