A SCOTTISH media veteran is to become the new figurehead of national arts agency Creative Scotland.
The Scottish Government has appointed Richard Findlay, a former chief executive of Scottish Radio Holdings and chair of STV, to head up the quango’s board.
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Mr Findlay, 71, has latterly been chair of Innovate Financial Services, a financial advice firm based in Edinburgh, as well as chair of an educational apps company based in London.
However, he was also the founding chairman of the National Theatre of Scotland and had a spell as chair of the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh.
The former actor takes over from Sir Sandy Crombie, the ex-Standard Life chief executive, who announced he was stepping down last April. Sir Sandy had a turbulent tenure, facing a rebellion from artists over the way funding decisions were being made, concern over the body’s management style and anger about its use of “business-speak”.
An open letter signed by 100 artists complained that Creative Scotland was being run with “a corporate ethos that seems designed to set artist against artist and company against company in the search for resources”.
Although Creative Scotland’s first chief executive Andrew Dixon resigned, Sir Sandy withstood calls to quit.
Sir Sandy, who was said to have a strong working relationship with culture secretary Fiona Hyslop, led the wide-ranging overhaul of Creative Scotland following Mr Dixon’s resignation at the end of 2012, including the appointment of his replacement Janet Archer the following summer.
But there was long-standing anger about his insistence that artists and organisations funded by Creative Scotland – which has a budget of more than £100 million – needed to demonstrate “a return on investment”.
Mr Findlay, who was awarded the CBE in 2013 for services to the arts and creative industries, is a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where he later served as a governor, and pursued acting as an early career.
Mr Findlay said: “I am joining Creative Scotland at an exciting and pivotal time. Janet Archer and her team, supported by the board, have put in place a coherent strategy and funding approach for the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland, underpinned by a clear set of ambitions and priorities.”
Playwright David Greig, a leading figure in the campaign against the Creative Scotland ethos under Sir Sandy, was asked to help recruit a new chair, along with film-maker Chris Young, producer of The Inbetweeners.
Mr Greig said: “I hope artists and makers in Scotland will welcome this new appointment. Richard Findlay cares passionately about the arts in Scotland and he’s a big-hitter when it comes to talking to government.”
Ms Hyslop said: “Richard will lead Creative Scotland from strength to strength, supporting and challenging the organisation as it delivers on its ambitious ten-year plan.
“Once again, I would like to thank Richard’s predecessor, Sir Sandy Crombie for his service, and for extending his period of office while a new chair was found.”
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