Defra Ministers appoint three new Trustees to the Boardof Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

  • Steve Almond, Kate Priestman and John Scanlon have been appointed Trustees of RBG Kew
  • The Trustees’ combined experience in corporate governance, government affairs and wildlife conservation will help Kew deliver its 10-year strategy ‘Manifesto for Change

Tuesday 12 April 2022: Steve Almond, Kate Priestman and John Scanlon have been appointed by Ministers to the Board of Trustees at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to serve three-year terms. All three appointments commenced on April 1, 2022.

The Trustees will take the place of departing Trustees Professor Liam Dolan, Catherine Dugmore and Professor Sue Hartley. They join ranks with Dame Amelia Fawcett, Sarah Flannigan, Jantiene Klein Roseboom, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Professor Christopher Gilligan, Sir Paul Nurse, David Richardson, Judith Batchelar and Professor Ian Graham.

Dame Amelia Fawcett, Chair of the Board of Trustees, says: “I am delighted to welcome Steve, Kate and John to the Board of Trustees. They all bring strong and diverse expertise and experience to the Board, and I very much look forward to working with them. This is an important time for Kew, as we build on our highly impactful presence at COP26, deliver our ambitious Manifesto for Change and new Science Strategy and continue to play a major role globally in addressing the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss.”

Under the terms of the National Heritage Act 1983, RBG Kew has been designated an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body with exempt charitable status and is sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Due to its designation, Kew’s strategies and corporate plans are overseen by a Board of Trustees comprised of the Chairman and 11 other members. 

The appointment of Trustees has been made in accordance with the Governance Code on Public Appointments published by the Cabinet Office. All appointments to the Board of Trustees are based on merit, with political activity playing no part in the selection process.

Biographical details of the new Trustees:

Steve Almond

After obtaining a BA in History at Royal Holloway College, University of London, Steve Almond trained as a Chartered Accountant at Deloitte and spent much of his career there as an Audit Partner specialising in the Financial Services Industry. He worked in a variety of roles for 16 years on the Deloitte UK Executive and, concurrently, 8 years on the Global Executive. He has a wealth of experience advising large company boards and audit committees and served for 10 years on the board of Deloitte UK. In 2011 he was elected Chairman of Deloitte’s Global Board. In that capacity he represented Deloitte on various external bodies, including Accounting for Sustainability Advisory Board, International Integrated Reporting Council, Social Progress Index Advisory Board and World Business Council Sustainable Development.

Kate Priestman

Kate is currently Senior Vice-President of R&D Strategy and Portfolio at GlaxoSmithKline. She has worked in the biopharma industry for over 25 years, including at AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly, and has worked in roles across commercial, corporate governance, communications and government affairs. Kate has also worked for the BBC as a presenter and documentary-maker. Kate is a vocal ambassador and advocate for greater Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in STEM, and has been widely recognised for her impact in increasing ethnic representation, gender diversity and inclusivity. In her spare time Kate is an artist and creator and founder of a popular design blog. Her work inspired an installation in the Chicago Botanic Garden in 2016 and is used in schools as part of the creative arts curriculum.

John Scanlon

John is currently CEO of the Elephant Protection Initiative Foundation, Chair of the Global Initiative to End Wildlife Crime and Chair of the UK Government Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund. He has a range of experience with environment and sustainable development policy, law, institutions and governance at the international, national and local level. John started his career in private legal practice and went on to work in senior positions with Governments in Australia, with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and African Parks. John is also the former Secretary-General of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). John holds a Bachelor of Laws, and Master of Laws (Environmental), and in 2019 was awarded the prestigious Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to wildlife conservation and protection through roles with international organizations.

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