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The executive board is our strategic and executive decision-making body. It provides the executive link between our national and area offices.

It is responsible for developing the long-term strategy for the Arts Council and for ensuring delivery of our strategic framework Great art and culture for everyone. The role of the executive board is to:

  • oversee the development and implementation of corporate strategy
  • undertake high-level monitoring to ensure delivery of the Arts Council plan
  • make major recommendations to Council within delegated powers, and to approve further delegations as appropriate

Executive board is chaired by the Chief Executive, Darren Henley, and comprises the Deputy Chief Executive, the executive directors for arts and culture, national strategy and our five areas, with directors for advocacy and communications and finance.  

Darren Henley : Chief Executive

Darren Henley

Darren Henley began his role as Chief Executive of Arts Council England in April 2015. 
Follow Darren on Twitter, and see his latest posts on our blog

Darren Henley has spent twenty-five years working in radio, leading Classic FM for the past fifteen years, first as Managing Editor and then as Managing Director. He has led the development of Classic FM across a range of different platforms, with the creation of the UK’s biggest classical music website, innovative new digital products and services, market-leading record labels, live concerts and book publishing. Named ‘Commercial Radio Programmer of the Year’ in 2009 and the recipient of the Sir Charles Groves Prize for ‘his outstanding contribution to British music’, he was appointed an OBE in 2013 for services to music.

Darren’s two independent government reviews into music education and cultural education, published in 2011 and 2012, resulted in the creation of England’s first National Plan for Music Education, new networks of Music Education Hubs and Heritage Schools, the Museums and Schools programme, the BFI Film Academy and the National Youth Dance Company. He chairs the government’s Cultural Education Board and the Mayor of London’s Music Education Task Force. He is a trustee of the exam board ABRSM, a Commissioner for the University of Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value, and a board member and vice president of the Canterbury Festival.

Darren is the author of twenty-seven books, including two Sunday Times bestsellers. His latest book The Virtuous Circle: Why Creativity and Cultural Education Count, co-written with leading arts educationalists Sir John Sorrell and Paul Roberts, argues that an excellent cultural education is the right of everyone, bringing personal, social and commercial advantages that can only benefit the lives of all individuals in our society.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, the Radio Academy and the London College of Music; an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University, Canterbury Christ Church University and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance; an Honorary Member of the Royal Northern College of Music and the Incorporated Society of Musicians; and a Companion of the Chartered Management Institute. He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Hull, Birmingham City University and Buckinghamshire New University.

Executive board expenses

In line with our policy of being open and transparent, we have undertaken to publish information regarding our executive board's expenses periodically.

Browse executive board expenses on our transparency pages.

Board members