Though a non-executive position, the chair works closely alongside the Arts Council chief executive, currently Alan Davey, and “provides strategic leadership to the Arts Council and acts as an ambassador and advocate for arts and culture in England”. The position comes with an annual remuneration of £40,000 for a time commitment of up to two days a week.
Commenting on the appointment, Sir Peter, who was knighted in the New Year Honours in January, said: “2013 will be an excellent time to join the Arts Council, following the success of the London 2012 Festival and the launch of The Space in 2012. Sustaining our vigorous arts and cultural sector is admittedly a challenge but one I greatly look forward to.”
Davey said, in a separate Arts Council statement: “This is an excellent appointment. Peter is a great philanthropic contributor to the arts; an enthusiast who has done amazing work with English National Opera and has helped the Arts Council over the years to develop our digital thinking. We look forward to working with him."
Davey added about Bazalgette’s predecessor, who was asked to step down by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt: “I would also like to pay tribute to Liz Forgan – who has done such a marvellous job for us during a time of rapid change. I know she will continue to play an active role until she leaves in January and I thank her sincerely for all her hard work and inspired leadership.”
Bazalgette is currently chair of English National Opera, a non-executive director of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and serves on the advisory board of The Space, a joint venture between Arts Council England and the BBC. He is also president of the Royal Television Society and a former non-executive director of Channel 4.
These positions follow a career in television production where he was creative director of Endemol up to 2007 and the creator of several television formats, including Big Brother, Deal or No Deal, Changing Rooms and Ready Steady Cook. He retains several commercial interests including a start-up company called MirriAd, which deals with digital product placement. He was knighted for his services to broadcasting.