Wednesday 07 May 2014


London, UK – The British Council announced today that its Chief Executive, Sir Martin Davidson, will be standing down at the end of this year. 

Sir Martin said:  “After thirty years working for the British Council and seven years as Chief Executive I feel that now is the right time to hand over the leadership of this great organisation to somebody else.   

“The UK’s connections with the rest of the world are always evolving but we know that building relationships through our culture, the English language and our respected education system are some of the most powerful ways to build trust for our country. That trust is a strong foundation for the UK’s international economy and builds the co-operative relationships that contribute to our security.    

“Even in these difficult economic times and with a reducing government grant the British Council has continued to grow its contribution to the UK’s international relationships through the promotion of our language, arts and education. We will continue to seek new partnerships to grow our work on behalf of the whole of the UK around the world and I look forward to handing over to my successor.”

Sir Vernon Ellis, Chair of the British Council’s Board of Trustees, said: 

“The Board of Trustees is very grateful to Martin for his immense contribution to the British Council over the last 30 years but especially the last seven as CEO. During that time, the organisation has not only grown very significantly, but the impact it makes on behalf of the UK has grown even more. We will be recruiting a new CEO who will maintain this momentum and, together with our partners, will further expand our international cultural and educational work.

“A sub-committee of our Board of Trustees will oversee the recruitment process which will be open to both external and internal candidates.”

Notes to Editor

The role of CEO for the British Council will be advertised in the UK media from 11 May and an experienced recruitment consultancy is supporting us with the process. 

For more information, please contact Kristen McNicoll in the British Council Press Office on +44 (0)207 389 4967 or

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. 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 7,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year teaching English, sharing the Arts and in education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A publicly-funded grant-in-aid provides less than a quarter of our turnover which was £781m in 2012/13.  The rest we earn from English teaching, UK exams and services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with other institutions, brands and companies.  All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and creates prosperity and security for the UK and the countries we work in all around the world.