Who we are

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest cultural institution, and every year we work with thousands of artists from all over the world. 

Crucial to delivering such a diverse programme of events are our staff. We employ around 500 people in a wide range of specialisms, including producers and technical staff, visitor experience hosts, commercial and development, and IT, communications and marketing roles.

In Chief Executive Elaine Bedell and Chair Susan Gilchrist, Southbank Centre is one of the few leading cultural institutions in the UK to have a female leadership team.

Elaine Bedell RFH

Elaine Bedell, Chief Executive

Elaine Bedell is the Chief Executive of the Southbank Centre and was appointed in May 2017, becoming the first woman Chief Executive of Europe’s largest arts centre in its 66 year history. 

Previously, Elaine enjoyed a twenty-five year career in the media, working in senior roles at the BBC and at ITV where she commissioned and produced some of the UK’s most popular and original factual, entertainment and comedy titles including Strictly Come Dancing, The X factor, Britain’s Got Talent and Top Gear. She became a BBC producer at the age of 23, making talk shows and documentaries for BBC Radio 4 and eventually, a wide range of factual formats and entertainment shows for television. In 1995, she set up her own production company, Watchmaker, which seven years later she sold to the Chrysalis Group, staying on for a further two years as MD of Chrysalis Entertainment. After a stint as the Managing Director of the newly formed commercial arm of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Elaine eventually returned to the BBC as Controller of Entertainment, moving across to ITV as Director of Entertainment and Comedy in 2009. 

Elaine has won a BAFTA and a British Comedy Award and was Executive Chair of the Edinburgh International TV Festival for four years.  She was appointed a Trustee for the V&A Museum by the Prime Minister in 2015.

Board of Governors

Susan Gilchrist (Chairwoman)

Susan is Group Chief Executive of international communications firm Brunswick Group, leading the group’s operations across 23 offices in 14 different countries. She is a respected and established leader in the international communications industry.

Prior to joining Brunswick in 1995, Susan worked as a correspondent at The Times and as a management consultant at Bain & Company. She is a Founding Supporter in the US of the 30% club - the group devoted to increasing gender balance across organisations and particularly boardrooms - and in 2015 she was appointed to the Board of the Arthur W. Page Society.

Susan has a long association with Southbank Centre, having been a regular visitor for many years and has served on the Board since 2008. She also sat on the Board of Trustees of The Old Vic Theatre and in 2014 was awarded a fellowship by her alma mater, King’s College, London.

David Kershaw (Deputy Chairman)

David set up M&C Saatchi, the third largest advertising agency in the UK, together with Maurice and Charles Saatchi, Bill Muirhead and Jeremy Sinclair in 1995 and he has been the Group CEO since 2004. Prior to that, David had worked at Saatchi & Saatchi UK for more than 20 years and became its Chairman and CEO in 1994.

He was a Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 1988 to 1992 and is currently Chairman of the Cultural Leadership Programme and a Trustee of Creative and Cultural Skills.

Nicola Benedetti MBE

Nicola is one of the most sought after violinists of her generation, in demand with major orchestras and conductors across the globe. She won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition at the age of 16 and was the winner of Best Female Artist at both 2012 and 2013 Classic BRIT Awards. Recent collaborations include working with London Philharmonic Orchestra (resident at Southbank Centre), London Symphony Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra and Berlin Konzerthausorchester. Nicola is a champion of classical music education.

As Sistema Scotland’s official musical ‘big sister’ for the Big Noise project, Nicola has developed her own education and outreach initiative called The Benedetti Sessions and has numerous partnerships with schools, music colleges and local authorities.

Venetia Butterfield

Venetia is Publishing Director at Penguin Random House UK and manages the Viking, Portfolio and Penguin Life imprints, which publish prestigious UK authors including Booker Prize-winning novelist John Banville, Booker-shortlisted Colm Tóibín, John le Carré, Nick Hornby, Simon Schama, Emma Healey, Ruby Wax and Samuel Johnson Prize-winner Claire Tomalin.

At HarperCollins she was responsible for setting up the imprint HarperPerennial and her distinguished marketing career saw her lead the marketing operations for both HarperCollins and Collins Educational. Venetia set up a mentoring scheme at The Globe Academy resulting in the ‘Heroes’ programme through which ten children from deprived backgrounds are mentored by Pearson employees. She is also Vice Chair of Governors for West London Free School and Earl’s Court Free School.

Brent Hansen

After an illustrious career at MTV Networks International, Brent retired in 2006. He had joined the embryonic MTV Europe in 1987 as News Producer and, after several promotions, became President and Chief Executive of MTV Networks Europe in 1996. Brent was appointed President, Creative and Editor In Chief of MTV Networks International in 2003, responsible for overseeing Creative and Editorial for all 89 international channels, as well as branding, creative, music, programming and editorial output.

Fionnuala Hogan

Fionnuala is MD at Goldacre, a family office led investment house specialising in scaling tech-led businesses.  Fionnuala is also co-founder of RElab, a mentor-led accelerator programme for early stage tech innovators. Fionnuala has over 25 years’ experience of corporate advisory, investment and financing, with previous senior roles spanning larger corporates and start-up environments, including Kleinwort Benson, KPMG, Xelector plc and Hypo Real Estate.  


A passionate advocate of the power of arts and education to change lives, Fionnuala also works as a mentor and business coach with growing creative and tech organisations; is a Trustee of East London Dance; and was previously a trustee of Tomorrow’s Warriors.

Dame Vivian Hunt

Dame Vivian Hunt is the Managing Partner for McKinsey & Company’s United Kingdom and Ireland offices and is a senior partner of the firm, also serving on the firm’s global Board of Directors.

Hunt previously led the firm’s Pharmaceutical & Medical Products practice in EMEA, and continues to advise leading companies on a broad range of strategy topics, with a particular focus on performance transformation and organisational development. She also provides strategic advice to leading British firms in the private, public and third sectors.

In addition to her client responsibilities, Hunt is a leader within the firm on leadership and diversity. She frequently speaks on McKinsey & Company’s flagship research and co-authored publications, such as Women Matter, Diversity Matters, and The Power of Parity: How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth. She was previously named ‘the most influential black woman in Britain’ by the Powerlist Foundation.The Financial Times identified her as one of the ‘European Women to Watch’ and, more recently, as one of the 30 most influential people in the City of London.

In 2018, Hunt was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the economy and women in business.

Michael Hussey

Recognised, in his role as Chief Executive at Almacantar, as one of the leading experts of the Central London property market Michael has secured a strong reputation through a series of landmark transactions and developments.

Michael was an Executive Board Director at Land Securities plc, the largest property company in the UK, and was responsible for property transactions at the Canary Wharf Group as Head of Leasing and Marketing. Michael is an independent Director of Taylor Wimpey plc, and has served as Chairman of the Regeneration and Development Committee for the British Property Federation, President of the British Council for Offices, President of the City Property Association, London Board member of RSA and a Trustee of Land Aid. Outside real estate, Michael is a Trustee of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, a Sinfonia Circle supporter for the Orpheus Foundation and a former Trustee of the Photographers' Gallery.

Luke Mayhew

Luke is currently a Non-Executive Director of InterContinental Hotel Group and DFS, and has worked in senior roles across the Travel and Retail sectors, including 13 years as a Director of John Lewis. Alongside his commercial work he is a Trustee of BBC Children in Need and the National Youth Orchestra. Until recently Luke was also a member of Tate’s Finance and Operating Committee and Tate Enterprise Board.

He started his working life at the Department of Trade and Industry before moving, first to Thomas Cook, then to British Airways. He has also held board roles at WH Smith, Pets at Home and Brambles, and was Chairman of the British Retail Consortium.

Cornelius Medvei

Cornelius is a lawyer and real estate partner at King & Wood Mallesons. A passionate supporter of the arts, he is also Chair of Cockpit Arts and a Trustee of the Whitechapel Gallery and was previously Chair of Wingfield Arts and Music.

Previously a partner at Eversheds for over 25 years - where he variously headed their real estate practice and was both London Managing and London Senior Partner - he has held a number of appointments in professional organisations and continues to take an active interest in the future of the legal profession. His particular interests in the arts centre are the visual arts, literature and music, not least opera.

Sir William Sargent

Sir William is Chief Executive and co-founder of Framestore, the London, New York, LA and Montreal-based visual effects company whose credits include all eight Harry Potter films, Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Paul King’s Paddington. The company's work has been recognised with two Oscars (and five nominations), 11 Primetime Emmys and many of the major global creative awards in advertising, television and film.

He also served as Chairman and CEO of Spitting Image and has worked with Claudio Abbado, Michael Tippett, Andrew Parrott, Nelson Mandela and Arthur Miller on documentaries and arts programmes. A key business advisor to the government, Sir William held the positions of Permanent Secretary, Regulatory Reform at the Cabinet Office and Board Director of HM Treasury. He is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. He received a CBE in 2004 and was knighted by the Queen in 2008

Dr Maggie Semple OBE

Dr Maggie Semple is the Chief Executive of The Experience Corps, a company that provides strategic advice and research to the private sectors in culture change, senior leadership development, ethics and inclusion. She is also the founder of MSL, a style and fashion business.

As well as a school inspector and a deputy headteacher, Maggie is a former Civil Service Commissioner, Director of the Learning Experience at the New Millennium Experience Company Ltd, and Director of Education and Training at the Arts Council of England. Maggie has also served on a number of Government and EU task groups concerned with learning and development and was previously the UK representative on a number of programmes based in Brussels.

Maggie serves on a range of Boards and is a Non-Executive Director of Criminal Cases Review Commission, the British Library and the Brit School. She was awarded an OBE for her services to education in the UK.

Michael Zaoui

Michael is a former Vice Chairman of the Institutional Securities Group of Morgan Stanley, a position he held until retiring from a long and distinguished career in investment banking in 2008. Since retirement Michael has advised selected clients on strategic financial matters, as well as serving on several Boards.

Michael graduated from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris in 1976. He also studied at the London School of Economics in 1978, earned a Masters in Law from the Université de Paris in 1979 and a pre-doctoral degree from the Université Panthéon-Sorbonne in 1981. He received an MBA from Harvard University in 1983.

He is a Member of the Harvard Business School Board of Dean’s Advisors and a Member of the Belfer International Council, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Michael also serves as Independent Director of International Power in the UK and of Gruppo L’Espresso in Italy. He is a Director of several privately held companies, a Founding Member of La Fondation France-Israël and a member of the Council of the Serpentine Gallery. He was recently appointed as Conseiller du Commerce Extérieur de la France in the UK.


Executive Board

Chay Champness, Director of Commercial Projects
Vicky Cheetham, Executive Director, Arts
Chris Denton, Executive Director, Audiences
Andrew Gambrell, Finance Director
Alison Lodge, HR Director
Mike McCart, Director of Policy & Partnerships
Gillian Moore, Director of Music
Ralph Rugoff, Director, Hayward Gallery
Mark Rushworth, Property Director
Alix Wooding, Director of Development
Madani Younis, Creative Director