Cheltenham Festivals appoints co-CEOs

Ali Mawle and Ian George Co-CEOs of Cheltenham Festivals

Cheltenham Festivals has announced a new leadership structure for the new year with Co-CEOs, Ali Mawle and Ian George, leading the charity. They will be joined on the Senior Management Team by Helena Bibby as Director of People and Suzanne Ross as Director of Finance.

The structure reflects the roll-out of a new three-year strategy due in 2022 focussing on the organisation’s mission: to co-create experiences which bring joy, spark curiosity, connect communities and inspire change.

Diane Savory OBE, Chair of Cheltenham Festivals, said: “Cheltenham Festivals’ dispersed leadership model has been in place since May 2017 and was an advantage during the pandemic, with no single person having to steer the ship through such difficult waters. With the need for focus and clarity in delivering our new three-year Strategy, now is the time to streamline the leadership model as we sustain the momentum towards being a mission-led organisation.

“Ali and Ian have demonstrated over their many years with the charity that they have the shared vision, passion and experience to lead the organisation in its new chapter, and the board is delighted they are taking on the challenge.”

In a joint statement, co-CEOs Ali Mawle & Ian George, said: “Cheltenham Festivals is here so that everyone can explore and create culture and we are excited to continue working with the team and our partners on realising this vision. Moving forward there is crucial work to be done in areas such as removing barriers to culture in our local communities, in positioning Cheltenham as it harnesses the potential of culture alongside tech innovation with the Golden Valley Development and sharing culture globally through our extensive international programmes.”

Cheltenham Festivals is a charity delivering a pioneering year-round educational programme culminating in four internationally-acclaimed Jazz, Science, Music and Literature Festivals. Cheltenham Festivals co-creates experiences which bring joy, spark curiosity, connect communities and inspire change.

Cheltenham Jazz Festival 27 April – 2 May 2022

Cheltenham Science Festival 7 – 12 June 2022

Cheltenham Music Festival 8 – 16 July 2022

The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 7 – 16 October 2022

Cheltenham Festivals estimates that it generates more than £5.2m worth of business for the local economy. It produces 36 days of Festivals plus at least 180 days of year-round activity.

The four Festivals now feature nearly 1,000 events and more than 215,000 tickets are sold annually, even though 25 per cent of its programme is free.

Alongside box office sales it relies on sponsorship, grants and charitable giving to secure its international profile and position at Cheltenham’s cultural core