Sir Howard Davies formally took on the role of Chairman at The London Library’s AGM today (3rd November), following his appointment earlier this year by the Library’s Board of Trustees.
Sir Howard becomes Chairman at an exciting time in the Library's development. The Library will be celebrating its 175th anniversary in May 2016 and in the New Year will be announcing a programme of activities to mark this milestone, as well as unveiling the detail of a new capital campaign to support the planned expansion and refurbishment of its historic bookstacks and the creation of an additional Reading Room and Members’ Room.
Sir Tom Stoppard, President of The London Library commented, "We are delighted to welcome Sir Howard Davies as our new Chairman. His outstanding and wide-ranging experience spanning business, government and culture will be invaluable in helping The London Library develop further its remarkable role in the UK’s cultural and literary life.”
Sir Howard succeeds Bill Emmott who has been the Library’s Chairman since 2009. During Bill’s Chairmanship, the Library has continued with an impressive building and refurbishment programme which has seen the opening of award winning new working areas in the form of the Library’s spectacular Art Room, Times Room and Lightwell and the refurbishment of its much loved Reading Room and Sackler Study.
Sir Tom Stoppard paid tribute to Bill’s dedication and support for the Library: “Bill has been a wonderful ambassador for The London Library and a tireless champion of our work. During his tenure he has helped steer through the programme of expansion and refurbishment that is transforming the working spaces for our members and enhancing the facilities we offer. We are deeply grateful to him for the role he has played.”
Other Business at the AGM
The AGM considered the election of Trustees. James Hannam and Margaret Heffernan have retired from their existing positions; Sven Becker, Giles Milton, Rick Stroud and Will Harris were successfully elected as Trustees for the first time; Philip Hook was re-elected.
Members also voted on and approved the Trustees' proposals to increase the ordinary annual fee by £10 to £495 (£41.25 per month) from 1st January 2016. This represents an increase of 2.1%, which is above general inflation but broadly in line with the Library’s specific cost base. Proportionate increases will be applied for the other membership categories.
Members also approved the appointment of new auditors MHA MacIntyre with effect from the financial year 2015-2016.
Bill Emmott is an independent writer and consultant on international affairs. A writer and former Editor-in-Chief of The Economist (1993-2006) his recent publications include: Good Italy, Bad Italy (2012); Forza, Italia (2010); Rivals: how the power struggle between China, India and Japan will shape our next decade (2008); 20:21 Vision - 20th-century lessons for the 21st century (2003); and six books published in Japanese translation between 1996 and 2010. Co-author and narrator of the documentary film Girlfriend in a Coma, he is now working on a new documentary about Europe’s future.
He holds honorary doctorates from Warwick and City Universities in the UK, NorthWestern University in the USA (June 2008) and an honorary fellowship at Magdalen College, Oxford.
Bill is also group economic adviser for Fleming Family and Partners, a fund manager; a trustee of the International Institute for Strategic Studies; a member of the Swiss Re Chairman's Advisory Panel; and a member of the President's Council of the University of Tokyo.
Sir Howard Davies
Alongside his prominent career in finance and industry, Sir Howard has long been a leading voice for literature and the arts. From 2002–10 he was a Trustee of the Tate Gallery (where he served as interim Chair 2008-09), and was a member of the governing body of the Royal Academy of Music from 2004–13. In 2011 he joined the board of the Royal National Theatre. A frequent book reviewer and author, Sir Howard was Chairman of the Man Booker Prize jury in 2007. He joined The London Library as a member in 1981.
In his less literary moments he has also been Director-General of the CBI, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Director of the London School of Economics and independent Director of Morgan Stanley. He chaired the Airports Commission, is an independent Director of Prudential, and became Chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland in September 2015.