Thursday 07 January 2021


The British Council is pleased to announce the appointment of Kate Ewart-Biggs OBE as Interim Chief Executive.

As interim Chief Executive, she will lead the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, providing strategic direction to the British Council and its Senior Leadership Team as it continues to recover from the impacts of Covid-19. The British Council creates global opportunities in arts and culture, education and the English language.  

Kate joined the British Council in 1998 and has been the Director of its Global Network since 2015, overseeing over 100 offices around the world.  She was also responsible for the British Council’s strategic relationship with its sponsoring government department, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Prior to her current role, Kate was a Regional Director, managing programmes in the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. She was at the heart of the British Council’s response to the Arab Spring and led country operations in Uganda and Tanzania. 

Before joining the British Council, Kate worked for organisations working on behalf of street children in South Africa, Brazil, Indonesia and Eastern Europe. Kate is passionate about giving young people, whatever their circumstances, the opportunity to engage actively in their communities.

Kate Ewart-Biggs said: 'I’m excited to begin the role knowing what a privlege and a responsibility it is to lead this extraordinary organisation. Since joining the British Council in 1998, I have been lucky enough to work with many remarkable teams and colleagues across the world, seeing first-hand the positive, lasting impact of our cultural relations work. During this period of global uncertainty and change, sustaining trusted connections between the people of the UK and other countries is more important than ever.'

Stevie Spring, Chairman, British Council said: 'Kate has proven to be an effective, thoughtful and calm deputy as we faced unprecedented global challenges last year. I am delighted to see her step up to interim CEO as we rebuild our business and renew our organisation for the next phase of our development.'

Kate Ewart-Biggs began her role on 4 January 2021 and replaced Sir Ciarán Devane whose six-year fixed term tenure ended December 2020. 

Notes to Editor

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About the British Council

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. Last year we reached over 80 million people directly and 791 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government