Former Standard Life boss becomes Edinburgh Festival chair



The Edinburgh International Festival has appointed Keith Skeoch as its new chair, with his leadership of the board due to commence in June.

He already serves as a trustee and active member of the festival’s diversity and inclusion working group.

The former chief executive of Standard Life Investments has expertise in the financial sector, public policy, regulatory affairs and purpose-led organisational change.

Skeoch is currently chair of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Research Institute, chair of the ring-fencing and proprietary trading independent review panel, Interim chair of the Financial Reporting Council, chair of the Investment Association and a member of the UK Takeover Panel.

He is also a Trustee of the Standard Life Foundation.

Leonie Bell, chair of the nominations committee, said: “Keith’s passion for and understanding of the festival spirit, its rich history and its role in Edinburgh and Scotland’s recovery is unrivalled.

“His experience in leadership and navigating organisational transformation is matched with a deep understanding of the significance of the current moment, and what lies ahead, for the festival, society and the arts at large.

“He steps up to lead an ambitious and diverse Board that is enormously invested in the Festival’s local relevance, national role and international success.”

Skeoch succeeds professor Niall Lothian, who first joined the board in 2011, after which he was elected deputy chair in 2014 and chair from 2017.

Skeoch commented: “It is an honour to lead such a capable board and a talented organisation through a period of significant change as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“The next few years will offer a much-needed opportunity for us to strengthen the role that the festival plays both within the international and local arts community as we recover from the pandemic.”

Created in 1947 to celebrate the human spirit, the Edinburgh International Festival normally serves as an annual cultural exchange, every August, for an international audience exceeding 400,000 per year.

The 2020, the festival was cancelled for the first time in its history due to concerns around the Covid-19 pandemic, but is set for a return – both virtually and in-person – this year.

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