Sir Vernon Ellis, Chair
Sir Vernon Ellis became Chair of the British Council in March 2010
Sir Vernon has a background in both business and the arts.
Prior to early 2010, he spent all his working life at Accenture in a number of major operational roles overseeing a period of extraordinary growth. Through the 1990s he led the firm’s operations in Europe, Middle East, Africa and India and also developed Accenture’s relationship with the World Economic Forum. From 2001 he was International Chairman and, inter alia, led the global Corporate Citizenship Activities, including a focus on skills for employability through its pro bono, volunteering and Foundations giving activities. He was also the founder Chairman of Accenture Development Partnerships as well as responsible for Accenture’s activities with the World Economic Forum at Davos. He was the UK private sector representative on the G8 Digital Opportunities Task Force and has served on several boards and advisory committees for leading business schools.
He is Chairman of Martin Randall Travel Ltd., the leading cultural tours company and of One Medicare, a company providing primary health care services. He is a non-executive Director of FTI Consulting.
He was Chairman of English National Opera from 2005 to 2012 and led the organisation through a period of transformation to its position now as one of the most innovative and productive opera companies in the world. He has now succeeded the late Lord Harewood as President. He is also involved in several other musical organisations and is Chairman of the National Opera Studio. Through his Foundation he supports several arts companies, artists and charities. The Foundation also manages around 60 concerts a year at his London home, providing many leading artists with a run-through ahead of major public engagements but also development and showcasing opportunities for young artists as well as fundraising opportunities for musical organisations and charities. He was Chairman of the Classical Opera Company from its foundation in 1997 until 2009 and remains its President. He was a Trustee of the Royal College of Music from 2004-10 and was awarded a Fellowship of the RCM in 2012. He was a member of the Philanthropy Review, a task force formed in 2011 to make recommendations for increasing levels of giving and makes frequent speeches on this topic as well as on arts infrastructure and funding. He was knighted for services to music in 2011 and in 2013 was awarded a Beacon Fellowship for Cultural Philanthropy. He was appointed Chair of the Arts and Media Honours Committee in 2012. At the British Council, his first term as Chair ends in 2013 but he has been re-elected for a further term of three years ending in 2016.