James Ainscough has been unveiled as the new CEO of The Royal Albert Hall.
Ainscough will take over in spring this year, leaving his position as CEO of Help Musicians, where he oversaw the distribution of £20 million in financial hardship funding during the pandemic. The Music Minds Matter platform also launched during his tenure at the company, with the aim of providing mental health support for the entire music industry.
He succeeds Craig Hassall, who stepped down from being CEO in December 2022. Dan Freeman, the Hall’s chief operating officer, is acting as interim CEO.
At The Royal Albert Hall, Ainscough will lead the venue’s post-Covid recovery plan. He previously served at the Hall from 2009-17, initially as director of finance and administration and then as chief operating officer.
We will do all we can to support and nurture the wider music ecosystem
Ainscough said: “The Royal Albert Hall has always been close to my heart. It has been a privilege to lead Help Musicians for the past five years and the charity is in now in good spirit with a clear strategy, a strong sense of purpose, and a wonderful team of staff, trustees and partners. Only a really special opportunity, like ‘coming home’ to the Royal Albert Hall, could have tempted me to leave. There are multiple challenges ahead but those are what most energise me. I could not be more excited to return to work with the Hall’s dedicated team. Together we will ensure the Hall offers the most amazing events and experiences to the most diverse audiences. And recognising its privilege as a prominent and much-loved venue, we will do all we can to support and nurture the wider music ecosystem of which we are an integral part.”
Ian McCulloch, president of the Royal Albert Hall added: “James combines a passion for the promotion of music and cultural enlightenment with the vision and business skills required to lead the Hall through its next phase, applying financial prudence to extending our reach and our artistic ambitions. The Royal Albert Hall will benefit greatly from James’ experience, talent, enthusiasm and determination. We are delighted that he will soon be re-joining the team.”