Our Board of Trustees
Alice Rawsthorn OBE
Alice Rawsthorn OBE was appointed as Chair of The Hepworth Wakefield in May 2018.
She has broad experience in arts governance, working for seven years as a trustee of Arts Council England, and serving on the board of the Whitechapel Gallery for over 20 years. She currently chairs the boards of trustees of Chisenhale Gallery and the contemporary dance group Michael Clark Company.
Born in Manchester, Rawsthorn graduated in art history from the University of Cambridge. Awarded an OBE for services to design and the arts, she is an honorary senior fellow of the Royal College of Art and has an honorary doctorate from the University of the Arts. As a Financial Times journalist for 18 years, Rawsthorn pioneered its coverage of the creative industries and worked as a foreign correspondent in Paris. For the last 12 years, she has written on design for the New York Times, which syndicated her weekly column worldwide. The author of a number of successful books on design, Rawsthorn is an influential public speaker at important global events including TED and the World Economic Forum in Davos.
On being appointed as Chair of The Hepworth Wakefield, Alice Rawsthorn said: “As a proud northerner, who is passionate about the arts I am thrilled to be taking on the role of Chair of The Hepworth Wakefield. The gallery has achieved so much in such a short time, and I am delighted by the prospect of being able to contribute to its future development and growth.”
Linda Bennett founded women’s footwear and fashion retailer LK Bennett in 1990.
In 2008 LK Bennett was sold to a retail and branded luxury goods investment company. Linda remains on the board of the company as a non-executive director and retains a stake.
In 2006, Linda was awarded an OBE for services to the fashion industry.
Dr Sophie Bowness is an art historian and a Trustee of the Hepworth Estate. She has edited the books Barbara Hepworth: The Plasters. The Gift to Wakefield (2011) and Barbara Hepworth: Writings and Conversations (2015), and is working on the catalogue raisonné of Hepworth’s sculptures.
She is the daughter of Sir Alan and Lady Bowness and granddaughter of Barbara Hepworth.
Merran McRae took over as Chief Executive of Wakefield Council in June 2017.
She was previously the Chief Executive of Calderdale Council. She holds the role of lead Chief Executive for skills across West Yorkshire and is a member of the Leeds City Region LEP’s Employment and Skills Board. She is also the lead Chief Executive and LGA link for health and social care for Yorkshire & Humberside and a spokesperson on Children’s Services for SOLACE.
Merran has had a professional background in housing management, community economic development and social care, holding positions as Chief Executive at a Housing ALMO and Director of Adult Social Care within a Local Authority. She has also led other strategic services, including culture and leisure services, as well as organisational development and change programmes. Merran has a particular interest in digital innovation and the use of data and sits on the Geospatial Information Customer Group, a BEIS advisory group covering the use of the Public Sector Mapping Agreement. She is also a trustee of the Yorkshire Sports Foundation.
Councillor Box is the current leader of Wakefield Council. He was first elected in 1982 and became leader in August 1998. Since his appointment he has led the transformation of Wakefield MDC into a modern and efficient authority.
Councillor Box’s political career has also seen him chair the Employment & Economic Development Committee from 1987- 1990 and the Labour Group from 1993 to 1998. Before retiring in 2005, Peter was a Probate and Trust Manager
Having been raised in Castleford and educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Wakefield, Peter has a strong and passionate connection with the Wakefield District.
He is also a Trustee for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the National Coal Mining Museum for England and a member of the Board of Welcome to Yorkshire.
Stuart Fletcher was, until April 2016, Chief Executive Officer of Bupa, a role he held since March 2012.
Before joining Bupa, Stuart spent 26 years in leadership positions with Diageo Plc. He was President of Diageo International between 2004 – 2011, having been President of Key Markets from 2000 – 2004.
Stuart held a number of other senior general management and finance positions with Diageo including roles based in Japan, USA and Hong Kong.
He previously held various financial roles with Procter & Gamble in the UK. Stuart is a member of the Advisory Board of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at Oxford University and a member of the Trustee Boards of two other charities, Pancreatic Cancer UK and United World Schools.
Andrew is a freelance adviser supporting entrepreneurs. He was previously an Executive Director at Coutts, one of the UK’s leading wealth managers building customer propositions with a focus on successful entrepreneurs.
He began his career as an investment banker in both London and New York before moving to be finance director of NatWest’s International Businesses Division in 1993, followed by roles in the offshore islands running retail and private banking businesses. He returned to New York in 1999 for 2 years to act as country head for the NatWest Group’s US businesses. He has spent 2 years in China helping create the first domestic private bank in the country.
His external interests are around the arts and education including board memberships of the Royal College of Music and the Chisenhale Gallery.
Diane Howse is an artist and a great supporter of the arts.
Also known as Lady Diane Viscountess Lascelles and the wife of David Lascelles, 8th Earl of Harewood, she is based at Harewood House.
Harewood houses a collection of paintings by masters of the Italian Renaissance, family portraits by Reynolds, Hoppner and Lawrence, and modern art collected by the 7th Earl and Countess. Changing temporary exhibitions are held each season in the Terrace Gallery and Diane is instrumental in the curation and development of the gallery.
Nick Johnson’s background is in regeneration, at Urban Splash he spent the best part of twenty years working with some of the UK’s most creative architects on some of the most daring and challenging regeneration projects.
During that period, he was a Commissioner at CABE (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment) he also Chaired Marketing Manchester and between 2006-2008 he was the Edward P. Bass Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Yale School of Architecture in New Haven and a subsequent guest critic.
He is still into regeneration by different means – crafting and curating young talent running a company responsible for Altrincham Market, Mackie Mayor and the Picturedrome in Macclesfield (opening 2019) feeding over 25,000 people each week and attempting to effect transformational change in those places.
Jane Madeley joined the University of Leeds as Finance Director in 2009. She has responsibility for the finance, IT, strategy and planning and purchasing functions across the University.
Jane graduated in History and Economics from York University in 1989. Since qualifying as a chartered accountant, Jane has held senior finance positions in businesses in the retail and fast moving consumer goods sectors, including Asda Walmart and the Campbell Soup Company.
Prior to joining the University Jane was the Chief Financial Officer and IT Director for Redcats UK, the UK mail order division of the French listed PPR group (which specialises in the luxury and retail sectors).
Jane Mee is a solicitor with a background in infrastructure projects. She is General Counsel at Hitachi Rail Europe and her responsibilities include governance and legal compliance.
She sits on the board of Agility Trains, which is responsible for the delivery of new inter-city trains for the East Coast Main Line.
She is married to the painter Henry Mee and is a great supporter of the arts.