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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on