Thursday 14 April 2016


Christopher Rodrigues CBE has been appointed the new Chair of the British Council. Succeeding Sir Vernon Ellis (Chair, British Council 2010 to 2016), Rodrigues will take up the post at the end of May 2016.

“I am delighted and honoured to be joining the team at a time in world affairs when the British Council’s work is so important and its reach and influence can be extended in this digital age,” said Rodrigues.

The Chair of the British Council provides leadership to the Board of Trustees, contributing to the strategic growth and development of the organisation as well as holding the Executive to account for the delivery of the organisation’s Corporate Plan. The Chair also represents the British Council in the UK and abroad, playing a critical role in maintaining and further developing the British Council’s relationships with key stakeholders and its audiences.

The recruitment process by open competition was led by the Deputy chair of the British Council, Baroness Prashar, who commented: “Christopher’s extensive global experience combined with a clear passion for the arts as well as his successful track record in promoting the UK abroad makes him an ideal Chair for the British Council. Together with my fellow Trustees, I look forward to working closely with Christopher to further promote a friendly knowledge and understanding between the UK and the world and thereby increasing the stability, security and influence of this country.”

Rodrigues is currently Chair of a number of organisations including VisitBritain, the Almeida Theatre (both ending this year), Openwork and the Port of London Authority following a successful senior leadership career in global organisations including American Express, Visa and McKinsey. 

A graduate of Jesus College, Cambridge, Rodrigues also holds a MBA with Distinction from Harvard Business School and an Honorary Degree of Doctor from the University of Surrey. He was appointed CBE in the 2007 New Year Honours for services to British business interests and charitable work in the UK and USA.

Foreign Secretary, Phillip Hammond, added: “I am delighted Christopher Rodrigues CBE will take up the position as the next Chair of the British Council.  The British Council is the UK’s main asset for cultural diplomacy.  Their work is vital in our joint mission to protect our country, our people and our interests; project our influence and values; and, promote our prosperity, and I am looking forward to working with Christopher on pursuing those goals.“

The role of Chair of the British Council is unremunerated. However the role is provided with an office with administrative support in the organisation’s offices in central London and reasonable expenses are paid.


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 16 per cent of our turnover which last year was £973 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations.

All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.