Susan Gilchrist has been appointed as the new chair of the Southbank Centre, taking over from previous incumbent Rick Haythornthwaite who spent seven years in the role.

Haythornthwaite said: “Susan’s experience in running a large complex business and her work with many world-class arts organisations will put her in good stead to chair the Southbank Centre. The organisation is in good health, with a new refurbishment plan in place, committed and capable staff and a growing, engaged membership.

“I wish Susan all the best in building on the Southbank Centre’s excellent cultural offer – including its continued focus on festivals which help to ensure the organisation remains both true to its roots and tackles some of the pressing challenges of our times.

Gilchrist previously worked as a correspondent at The Times before being appointed as group chief executive of Brunswick Group and leading the group’s operations over 23 offices in 14 countries.

She is a founding supported of the 30% Club, a group devoted to increasing the gender balance in businesses, and has sat on the Southbank Centre board since 2008.

Gilchrist said: “I am delighted to have been invited to become the chairman of the Southbank Centre and I look forward to working with the superb management team and my fellow Governors to ensure that this dynamic and inspiring arts centre continues to flourish into the future. We want to build upon the ambition so brilliantly realised under the helm of Rick and further expand upon our award-winning educational programmes, our vibrant festivals and world-class events. I share the commitment of everyone who works at Southbank Centre to ensure that as many people as possible can experience the power of the arts as a transformative and integral part of their lives.”