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.