Southbank Centre CEO Alan Bishop has announced that he is to retire next year after eight years in the role
Bishop, who will remain in post until his successor has been appointed, has worked with artistic director Jude Kelly to bring thousands of world class performers across art, music, literature, dance and performance to the London venue during his tenure, increasing its annual number of visitors to 5.1 million.
He has overseen the growth of Southbank Centre’s global and UK touring programmes, with productions, exhibitions and festivals reaching six continents and 37 cities across the UK.
“It has been a joy and a privilege to work with Jude Kelly and the wonderful team who have brought every part of this site alive with all its festivals for all the arts for all the people,” said Bishop. “I will miss everyone here enormously and wish them every success for the future."
Bishop’s balancing of Arts Council funding and ticketing revenue with commercial and sponsorship income has enabled Southbank Centre to offer 50% of its artistic programme for free and supplemented its growing participation programme to give people across all ages and backgrounds access to the arts.
He has recently overseen the start of Southbank Centre’s £30m scheme to refurbish the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Hayward Gallery and Purcell Room which is due to be completed in early 2018. He was also instrumental in driving the 2011 campaign to restore the 7,866 pipe main organ in the Royal Festival Hall.
Southbank Centre artistic director Jude Kelly added: “Alan and I have enjoyed a special and close working relationship strengthened by our shared belief that great art should be available to the many and not the few. One of his many strengths is his understanding and latitude when faced with the unpredictability of the artistic world; in that arena alone he has been the perfect CEO for any artistic director. And his commitment and dedication to Southbank Centre has helped to ensure that he leaves the organisation in a resilient position to face the future.”
The recruitment process is expected to conclude by late 2017.