Former HSBC boss Lord Green named chairman of the Natural History Museum

 

Arts Correspondent

Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, the former head of HSBC who stepped down from the Government in December, has been unveiled as the chairman of the Natural History Museum, saying “I’m not the sort of person who can be inactive”.

The Prime Minister appointed Lord Green to the role for a four-year period, the museum announced. He started by saying: “This is a great new learning experience for me.”

During his tenure, the former banker hopes to oversee further expansion abroad at the institution he called a “major icon on the international stage”.

He told The Independent: “I’m not a scientist, this is a new area of interest, but the Natural History Museum has a fascinating role to play in providing world class research on our planet and making it available, particularly to children.”

Lord Green became group chief executive of HSBC in 2003, two decades after joining the bank, and became group chairman three years later.

He was appointed Minister for Trade and Investment in 2011, and upon the announcement last year that he would step down in December, David Cameron said he had done a “superb job”.

As well as taking on the NHM chair, he said he has “a few other things on as well. I don’t want a single, full-on, full-time job. I’m not the sort of person who can be inactive.”

Lord Green replaces Oliver Stockton, who has been chair of the museum since 2006, and will work closely with museum director Dr Michael Dixon, who said the new appointment’s “corporate and business experience will be extremely valuable”.

“His knowledge of government and the way Whitehall operates is very useful,” Dr Dixon said, continuing that the museum still receives a “significant” amount of Government funding.

The Natural History Museum in London (Getty) The Natural History Museum in London (Getty)
The museum is looking at a range of activities to generate extra revenue at a time when funding cuts are expected to become more severe. Lord Green said: “We have to be mindful that we operate on a financially viable basis for the indefinite future.”

In asserting his credentials, Lord Green said he knew “how to chair meetings effectively, and my experience on the British Museum board will be extremely relevant as that’s another great cultural icon of London.

“I think I know my way around Whitehall, and I have long international experience in banking and Government,” he added.

The NHM will also work on how to deal with the growth of visitors in the next few years. Over the past decade, visitor number has increased from three million a year to over 5.4 million.

“On our busiest days we are pretty much at capacity,” Dr Dixon said. “The challenge in the short term is to create more floor space and better circulation to accommodate more visitors on any given day.”

The museum will particularly focus on expansion of its international partnerships and operations.

The NHM’s database is increasing accessed from abroad, “and the scientific partnerships are international”, Lord Green said. “Increasingly the international relationships are going to be important to institutions like the NHM.”

Dr Dixon added that the collection was “a model of the world’s biological and geological diversity. Our collections are truly international. Our approach is truly international; we collaborate on an international basis for research. We think there are commercial opportunities internationally.”

The new chair’s also revealed his favourite display of the museum was the mineral collection, a choice that he shares with his nine-year-old grandson.

Arts and Entertainment
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
music The singer has died aged 70
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams looks concerned as Arya Stark
tv
Arts and Entertainment
photography Incredible images show London's skyline from its highest points
Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tv 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there