Thursday, December 18, 2014

End of an Era

Today, after 31 years, eight of those as CEO, Sir Martin Davidson retired from the British Council. The farewell party was in London HQ but there was a nice global dimension to it, courtesy of a rather moving, occasiuonally funny & very well put-together video message from all corners of the globe, modelled on Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues. There was also a pretty amazing map of the world made up of tiny photos of colleagues from a couple of hundred offices.
Martin's been in British Council only slightly longer than me. It was a very different organization then: most of our budget was aid-related, there were a lot more staff (including a typing pool) and no computers. I first worked with him in 1994 on a festival, Britain in Russia, which coincided with a State Visit by the Queen to Moscow and St Petersburg. He then went on to be only the second internally-appointed Chief Executive. 
Our new big boss, Ciaran Devane, starts on 1 January. A new chapter.    

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