David Ross appointed new chair of UK’s National Portrait Gallery

David Ross National Portrait Gallery

(Left) Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Dr Nicholas Cullinan and (right) new Chair of the National Portrait Gallery, David Ross


LONDON – Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed David Ross as a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, London, for a period of 4 years. This appointment was made following an open competition as regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. David Ross was a Trustee at the Gallery from 2006 until June 2017, during which time he was Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee and Chair of the Development Board.

Following his appointment, the Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery elected David Ross as Chair of the Board of Trustees at their meeting on 7 September, as per the Museums and Galleries Act 1992. He will take up the position with immediate effect.

David Ross is a UK-based entrepreneur and philanthropist best known for co-founding The Carphone Warehouse Group plc in 1991. David’s philanthropic work is carried out through the David Ross Foundation, which he established in 2007. He has a keen interest in British contemporary art and is a passionate supporter of projects that work towards providing greater access to the arts for all. The David Ross Foundation supports a number of organizations and projects across a range of artistic fields, from music to theater and the visual arts and is the major sponsor of Nevill Holt Opera. In addition to his business and cultural interests, David is a committed supporter of education, having set up the David Ross Education Trust (DRET), which has over 30 Academies across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London said, “We are delighted that David Ross has been appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery. His passion and commitment to the arts and keen interest in education and inspiring the young will prove invaluable as we embark upon Inspiring People, our ambitious plans to transform the National Portrait Gallery and reach out to new audiences across the UK. David has always been a great supporter of the Gallery and I very much look forward to continuing to work with him during the exciting years ahead.”

David Ross, Chair of the Board of Trustees, National Portrait Gallery, London, said, “I am absolutely delighted to have been asked to become Chair of the National Portrait Gallery, after a long association with this outstanding institution. We are entering an exciting time for the Gallery with many opportunities and challenges ahead. I have really enjoyed my time to-date with the Gallery and I am very much looking forward to working with the whole Gallery team to realize our ambitions for the future.”

Founded in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery, London is “to promote through the medium of portraits the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture, and … to promote the appreciation and understanding of portraiture in all media.” The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. With over 1,000 portraits on display across three floors, from Elizabeth I to David Beckham, the Gallery has something for everyone. Artists featured range from Holbein to Hockney, and the Collection includes work across all media, from painting and sculpture to photography and video. As well as the permanent displays, the Gallery has a diverse and ever-changing program of exhibitions and events that promote an understanding and appreciation of portraiture in all forms.

In June 2017, the National Portrait Gallery announced it had been awarded funding of £9.4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards a £35.5m transformation program, which will be the Gallery’s biggest ever development and its most significant project since the opening of its Ondaatje Wing in 2000. The National Lottery support will go towards the project Inspiring People: Transforming our National Portrait Gallery. For the first time in the Gallery’s history there will be a comprehensive re-display of the Collection across all the galleries combined with a significant refurbishment, creating twenty per cent more public and gallery spaces. The transformation will also see the Gallery’s most extensive program of activities nationwide with plans to engage audiences across the UK.

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