English National Opera (ENO) is pleased to announce that Lord Chris Smith is joining the ENO Board of Trustees with immediate effect.

From 1997 to 2001 Lord Smith was Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. During this period he restored free admission to national museums and galleries, established NESTA, the Film Council, Creative Partnerships for schools, and the Foundation for Youth Music, expanded funding for the arts and sport, championed the creative industries for the first time in Government, and began the switchover process for digital television. He returned to the backbenches in 2001, standing down from the Commons in 2005.  He now sits in the House of Lords as a non-affiliated Peer – Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury.

In 2003 he became Director of the Clore Leadership Programme, helping to develop the potential of future leaders in the cultural sector; he stepped down in July 2008 to become Chairman of the Environment Agency, which he chaired from 2008 to 2014.  From 2007 to 2017 he was also Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority.  Since 2014 he has been Chairman of The Art Fund.  He was Chairman of Judges for the Man Booker Prize in 2004, and Chairman of the Donmar Warehouse Theatre until 2014. In 2011-12 he led the Review of Film Policy for the Government.  He is also a Non-Executive Director of PPL and Chairman of South Staffs Water, Chairman of the Intellectual Property Regulation Board, a Trustee of The Sixteen, and President of the Wordsworth Trust.  Since October 2015 he has been Master of Pembroke College in Cambridge.  

Commenting on the appointment, ENO Chair, Dr Harry Brunjes says, ‘We are thrilled that Lord Smith has joined the ENO Board.  As a former Culture Secretary his experience and understanding of the Arts sector is profound, equalled by his knowledge of and enthusiasm for opera.   We are fortunate that Chris will support ENO as we navigate this challenging time’. 

Lord Smith added: ‘I’m truly delighted to be joining the Board of ENO.  Through the course of the Covid pandemic, when all arts organisations have faced such huge difficulties, ENO has led the way with imaginative ideas and innovations that have helped to bring great opera to wide audiences.  As we begin to emerge from the struggles of the past year, I look forward to playing a part in helping ENO go from strength to strength.’