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2 Apr 2020

Philip Long OBE appointed Chief Executive

Philip Long OBE. Image by Julie Howden.
Philip Long OBE. Image by Julie Howden.
Philip Long OBE, currently Director of V&A Dundee, has been appointed Chief Executive of the National Trust for Scotland.

The Trust has announced that Philip Long OBE will succeed Simon Skinner, who retires in July.

Philip Long is V&A Dundee’s founding director, appointed in 2011 to lead the development of all aspects of this new cultural institution from its early planning to successfully opening the museum in September 2018.

He led the museum staff and the founding partnership of the V&A, Dundee City Council, the University of Dundee, Abertay University and Scottish Enterprise in delivering the first design museum in Scotland and the first V&A in the world outside London. Five hundred days from opening, V&A Dundee welcomed its one millionth visitor.

The museum has received international critical recognition – including by Time Magazine as one of the world’s 100 greatest places of 2019 – and delivered an economic impact for Scotland of £75 million in the first 12 months after opening.

Prior to his leadership of V&A Dundee, Philip was Senior Curator at the National Galleries of Scotland. His academic specialisation was developed during this time, in historic and contemporary Scottish and wider British art and design, on which he has curated many exhibitions and written widely.

Philip Long’s international work has included the curation of Scotland’s presentation at the Venice Biennale (2007), responsibility for the UK presentation at the Milan Design Triennale (2016) and advising museums and government agencies on the development of new cultural and heritage organisations.

He is an Honorary Professor of the University of Dundee, an Honorary Research Fellow of St Andrews University, a member of the British Council’s Arts and Creative Economy Committee, and a Board member of Creative Scotland. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and in 2019 was the recipient of a unique award for Transforming Scotland from the Institute of Directors.

He received an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2020 for services to Culture and Heritage.

Sir Mark Jones, Trust Chairman said: ‘I can speak for the Board of Trustees in saying we are delighted that Philip Long has agreed to become the charity’s Chief Executive.

‘His background in Scottish art and design is impeccable and his proven leadership skills, with which he led the V&A Dundee project to an acclaimed conclusion, will be a considerable asset to us as we face the challenges of the future.

‘He has formidable knowledge of collections and exhibitions, which I am sure will be put to good use as we seek to make our properties more engaging and accessible to more people.

‘I also want to offer my profound thanks to Simon Skinner. He has selflessly agreed to stay on longer as Chief Executive to ensure continuity of leadership pending Philip’s arrival in July.

‘Simon’s contribution to the reform and modernisation of the Trust over the last five years has been immense and his leadership skills have shone through yet again during the current public health emergency.’

Philip Long said: ‘It is a great honour to be appointed as the new Chief Executive of the National Trust for Scotland, an organisation which I greatly admire, and whose properties I’ve enjoyed for many years. The Trust is invaluable to our nation. The buildings and landscape in its care, which it makes accessible to millions of visitors every year, are truly world-class, defining our country’s heritage, culture and identity at its most outstanding. I am looking forward immensely to joining the Trust’s team and am fortunate to be succeeding Simon Skinner, who I would like to thank for his outstanding work.

‘Leading the team which opened V&A Dundee has been a real privilege. Scotland’s design museum has a remarkable, passionate team driving it forward and I wish them all the very best for V&A Dundee’s continued success and for the vital role it is playing in that city and nationally.’

V&A Dundee will begin recruitment for its Director immediately, led by Chair of the Board Tim Allan.

Tim Allan said: ‘Philip Long’s personal leadership, energy and commitment over nine years have seen the vision for V&A Dundee become reality.

‘This is naturally poignant news for us to say farewell to the founding director of V&A Dundee, but we are proud that he is moving on to lead such a nationally important organisation responsible for the care of Scotland’s heritage.

‘Recruitment for Philip’s successor is already underway. It is an exceptional opportunity to shape the next exciting chapter for the museum and its continuing impact in Dundee and Scotland.’