Board appoints artistic chief for world-renowned arts centre as CEO of WKCDA

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Following an extensive search lasting several months, during which it interviewed a number of highly qualified candidates, the Board of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority recently announced that it has appointed Mr Graham Sheffield as its chief executive officer. Mr Sheffield has served as Artistic Director for the successful and popular Barbican Centre in London, one of Europe’s largest integrated arts centre, for 15 years.

The Chairman of the Board of the WKCDA, Mr Henry Tang, said, "We were attracted to Mr Sheffield’s wealth of experience driving the artistic vision, policy and strategy for one of the world’s most respected art centres—especially the fact that his work spans multiple art forms, including performing arts, visual arts, film and much more. His vision, managerial talents and expertise in the international arts scene will also provide the WKCD with leadership it needs to become Asia’s leading centre for arts and culture, bringing the best of the arts from around the world to Hong Kong and the best of Hong Kong arts to the world."

As CEO, Mr Sheffield will lead and manage the artistic and operational initiatives and projects related to the development of the WKCD. He will report to the Board of the WKCDA and serve as a member. The appointment is effective mid-August 2010.

Mr Sheffield said, "I am both thrilled and honoured to have been offered the opportunity to come to Hong Kong and lead the West Kowloon Cultural District development. The proposed project is, in my experience, unprecedented in terms of its scale and ambition. I applaud the people of Hong Kong in their desire to see the city develop as a major global arts presence in the coming years, building on its existing arts capacity and infrastructure and adding substantially to the international dimension.

"Governments around the world are increasingly recognising the vital importance of a healthy and vibrant arts scene in positioning major cities in the premier league. I look forward to working with my new friends and colleagues here, both at the Authority and in the arts community of Hong Kong, sharing my experiences and learning from them. Our common purpose is to get this done while at the same time developing and realising new artistic ideas and projects together—for the benefit of Hong Kong, the region and the wider world," continued Mr. Sheffield.

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Mr Sheffield has a 30-year-plus track record in the global arts community. At the Barbican Centre, Mr Sheffield is directly responsible for setting and controlling a budget of £12 million and managing a staff of over 270. The Barbican has an annual turnover of £34 million and sees 1.2 million visitors a year.

Prior to his time at the Barbican Centre, Mr Sheffield was Music Director/ Music Projects Director with the Southbank Centre in London from 1990-1995. He also worked with the British Broadcasting Corporation for 13 years, most recently as Senior Producer.

Stay tuned over the coming months as the Board will be announcing several more appointments to senior-level posts at the Authority, all of whom will be trusted to team with Mr Sheffield and lead the WKCD to a successful debut.