Hay Festival charity names next CEO

The charity that runs annual arts and literature event the Hay Festival has appointed Julie Finch as its next chief executive.

She takes over from Peter Florence, who quit last year after an investigation into a complaint of bullying against him.

Finch joins the charity in August and has been tasked with boosting its “national and international standing, reach, impact, engagement with existing and new audiences, and its long-term sustainability”.

Her previous leadership roles include chief executive of The Cheltenham Trust and director of Bristol Museums Galleries and Archives Service.

“With a proven track record of strong leadership, effective strategy development and widening cultural participation, Julie’s appointment opens a thrilling new chapter for Hay Festival and our industry more widely,” said Hay Festival chair Caroline Michel.

Finch added: “As a Hay Festival regular over many years, I am pleased to be joining the charity as it continues to deliver world-leading events and reimagine the role a Festival can play in our cultural landscape and contemporary society.

“I am grateful to the board for their trust in my vision and look forward to working with the whole team as we plot a future that’s both daring and sustainable.”

The Hay Festival takes place from 26 May to 5 June this year.

Last August the Hay Festival board “unanimously endorsed” the findings of an independent investigation into a complaint of bullying against Florence, who is a co-founder of the event. The board found that Florence’s “actions amounted to gross misconduct”.

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