ABERDEEN Performing Arts has appointed Edel Harris OBE as its new Chair, it has been announced today.
With an impressive track record of leadership and a strong commitment to the community, Edel brings a wealth of experience to the leading arts organisation.
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Edel will join the Aberdeen Performing Arts Board as a board member and Chair Elect in February, before taking over as Chair later this year, when current Chair Craig Pike steps down after 12 successful years in the role, following a recruitment process led by TMM Executive.
Current Chair, Craig Pike welcomed the appointment: “After 12 wonderful years as Chair of Aberdeen Performing Arts it will be an honour to pass the baton to Edel, whose unwavering advocacy for the third sector and strong connections to the North-East make her the perfect candidate to lead Aberdeen Performing Arts in future success.
It has been a joy to see Aberdeen Performing Arts flourish, grow and overcome challenges during my tenure and I look forward to what the future holds.”
Edel Harris OBE served as the CEO of Mencap from 2019 to 2023. Prior to this, she spent eleven years as the CEO of Cornerstone Community Care, based in Aberdeen. Edel has also previously served as the Chair of The Life Changes Trust and the Scottish Government’s Social Investment Fund.
In 2016, Edel became the first woman to take on the role of President of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, where she remained until 2018. Her other Non- Executive Director appointments include the National Care Group (2023-present), Robertson Trust (2018-2022), and Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust (2014- 2019).
She is an Associate Consultant with PPL one of the Financial Times’ Leading Management Consultancies in the UK, and in the top 5% of B Corps globally.
Edel was presented with an honorary doctorate from Robert Gordon University in 2017 and awarded an OBE in 2021 in recognition for her services to the public sector and charity.
As an avid supporter of the arts, Edel is a regular visitor to events hosted by Aberdeen Performing Arts with drama, ballet and musical theatre among her favourites.
Aberdeen Performing Arts Chief Executive, Sharon Burgess, expressed her enthusiasm for Edel’s appointment, saying, “We are delighted to welcome Edel Harris as our new Chair. Her wealth of experience and her love for Aberdeen will undoubtedly be valuable assets as we continue to bring outstanding arts experiences to our community.
“Edel Harris’s appointment as Chair marks an exciting chapter for Aberdeen Performing Arts, and we look forward to the positive impact her leadership will have on our organisation and the broader cultural landscape of Aberdeen.
Incoming Chair Edel Harris said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the new Chair of Aberdeen Performing Arts. As a regular patron I have long been a supporter of everything that this organisation stands for, helping to make a positive impact through the arts and championing making arts accessible for all. As a company with such high ambitions, it is an exciting time to be joining the Board to support culture in the city and achieve great things on a national level and beyond.
“I’m looking forward to working with Sharon and the team and hope to continue and build upon the remarkable contribution that the current Chair has achieved.”