Saturday, 31 July 2021

Henley Festival boss steps down

THE boss of the Henley Festival has stepped down after 10 years.

Chief executive Gill Mitchell told the festival board after this year’s event in July that she would be leaving.

She will be replaced by Charlotte Geeves, who is the current festival and events manager of the Wildscreen Festivals in Bristol.

Mrs Mitchell said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my 10 years leading the festival and feel honoured and privileged to have been given the opportunity.

“I always had a plan to only stay for 10 years and it was in the back of my mind all year. I just felt like 10 years is long enough and what I want to do now is some non-executive work, though I haven’t got anything in particular in mind yet.

“The festival is in a good financial position now and it’s the right time to go so the new person can focus on the programme for next year.”

Mrs Mitchell was part of the team that agreed in 2012 to move the festival to Henley Business School only to reverse the decision and stay at the Henley Royal Regatta site.

She said: “I got it back to the site and it was a great festival this year but you need fresh blood to take it on. I wish Charlotte every success in taking the festival forward to the next stage of its development.

“I would also like to thank the board, the sponsors and all our contractors for all the kindness they have shown me over the last 10 years.

“Finally, a huge thank you to the people of Henley for supporting us and I hope you will continue to do so. It is a fabulous event and Henley is rightfully very proud of it.”

Ms Geeves, who will take over on November 3, said: “This appointment is a great honour and I am thrilled at the prospect and challenge of leading this exceptional organisation.

“The Henley Festival is an extraordinary festival. I look forward to working with the team and relish the task ahead.”

Festival chairman Sir Mike Rake said: “The board owes Gill a huge debt of gratitude for her commitment and hard work over the last 10 years and we wish her well for the future.

“We are delighted to have found someone with the experience of Charlotte to lead the festival on to further success.”

Wildscreen is an educational charity, co-founded by Sir Peter Scott, which works worldwide to promote nature conservation. It stages a film festival every two years featuring film, television and digital media inspired by nature and natural places.

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