Glasgow School of Art appoints temporary chairwoman
Glasgow School of Art – two fires devastated the historic Mackintosh building.
By Lucy Ashton
Glasgow School of Art has appointed Kristen Bennie as its interim chairwoman after Muriel Gray stepped down last month.
Ms Bennie, pictured right, has been an independent governor at the school since 2019 and will take the top job temporarily while the search for Ms Gray’s successor gets under way.
The former chairwoman’s tenure was marred by two fires that devastated the historic Mackintosh building at the school’s city centre campus.
A graduate of Northwestern University in Chicago, the INSEAD business school in Paris and Cambridge, Ms Bennie is the current convener of the school’s human resources committee as well as director of partnerships and open experience at NatWest.
“It is a huge privilege to be selected to take on the role as interim chair of the Board of Governors at this exciting time in the school’s development,” she said.
“Art schools play a key role in nurturing the skills and creative talent that will be required to address some of the greatest challenges we face today; a world that has only recently experienced such a life-changing event as a global Covid pandemic and a climate crisis that threatens irreparable damage to our planet.
“As a global leader in creative education, the GSA is already bringing innovative thinking not only to how we live today, but to the kind of world we want in the future.”
Muriel Gray stepped down as chairwoman after two catastrophic fires hit the Art School.
School director Professor Penny Macbeth said: “I am delighted that Kristen Bennie is the interim chair of the Board of Governors.
“Kristen has extensive experience in the areas of design and innovation with particular expertise in driving transformation and developing strategic partnerships, which will be invaluable to the GSA in this pivotal phase of our development.”
GSA also announced plans to appoint four new independent governors to its board, meaning 12 new members have been put in place since 2018.
Professor Anne Trefethen, Professor Graham Caie, Dr Simon Learoyd and Dr Graham Sharp were announced on Tuesday as the board’s new members.
“The latest academic and industry experts recruited as governors bring further strength and depth to the board,” Prof Macbeth said.
“Their appointment reflects the reputation of The Glasgow School of Art as a global leader in creative education and research, coming at a key moment as we develop our next strategic plan for 2022-27.”