Kay Andrews has been named the first woman chair of English Heritage (EH)
Andrews, formerly Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, was appointed after an open competition held by the Department of Culture Media and Sport which took place earlier this year.
EH has been without a permanent chair since the death of Sandy Bruce Lockhart last August.
Andrew’s role will run for four years from 27 July and takes over from temporary incumbent Barry Cunliffe.
Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw, who made the announcement yesterday (9 June), said: ‘Kay Andrews was the unanimous choice of the independent panel that assessed all the applicants for the Chair, and takes on the chairmanship at an important time for the organisation.
‘Public interest in our history and heritage is really high at home, and looks set to captivate the huge numbers who will come to the UK in 2012. There are exciting times ahead and she is wonderfully well-qualified to lead English Heritage through them.’
Edward Harley, president of the Historic Houses Association welcomed the announcement: ‘Lady Andrews has shown that she understands that heritage, including privately owned heritage, can be the catalyst for economic activity, as well as an inspiration to many.
‘At a difficult time it is important that English Heritage supports owners in their efforts to secure a viable future for historic properties. We look forward to welcoming Lady Andrews and to developing our long-term partnership with English Heritage.’
As planning minister, in 2006 Andrews oversaw the controversial new law that saw all planning applications require a ‘Design and Access Statement’.