National Trust seeks new Chair

Press release
Tim Parker, Chairman of the National Trust
Published : 25 May 2021

The National Trust today said its Council has started the process to appoint a new Chair following its current Chairman Tim Parker’s decision to step down after almost seven years of service.

Since his appointment in 2014, Tim Parker has served two full three-year terms as chair of the UK conservation charity. His final term was due to end in 2020, but a third exceptional term was agreed to provide stability to the organisation during the Covid 19 crisis. Tim informed trustees of his decision the day after the Trust’s houses reopened to the public on 17 May, and will step down in October this year.

The appointment of Tim’s successor as chair, a position which is unremunerated, will be made by the National Trust Council.  The chair is the most senior volunteer in an organisation with more than 50,000 volunteers, who give around five million hours of their time to the conservation charity in a normal year. The search for Tim’s successor had begun before the pandemic arrived, but was halted to provide stability to the organisation. It will now resume.

The Trust said it is sincerely grateful for the service Tim has given during his seven year tenure, particularly in the past year when he has supported the charity during its response to the Covid 19 crisis. He has overseen a major savings programme to make the organisation sustainable throughout the pandemic and beyond. Since covid restrictions began, the conservation charity, which is Europe’s largest, has kept its gardens, parks and car parks open to the public wherever possible, in line with Government guidance. And despite the financial challenges it faced, the National Trust has retained all the places and collections in its care for public access.

The Trust has now re-started work on some of the major conservation projects that had to be suspended last year. It has also returned to growth, recruiting more than 50,000 new members in April 2021.

Tim Parker, Chair of the National Trust said:

“The past 15 months, since the first Covid 19 lockdown, have been exceptionally challenging for everyone, including the National Trust. I thank everyone, not least the many thousands of volunteers, for their fantastic work during these difficult times and I am proud that, because of that work, we are now well on track for a full recovery and we can get on with our fundamental task, which is conservation work across our houses, landscapes and collections. It has been an immense privilege to serve the Trust for seven years as Chair and, as we emerge from the pandemic, the time is now right for the search to begin for my successor.

Hilary McGrady, Director General of the National Trust said:

“We are deeply grateful for the time, energy and passion Tim has brought to the role of chair. Under his guidance our charity has grown in strength and capability. Its membership has grown from 4.2 million in 2014 to nearly 6 million at the start of the pandemic, and we have managed more than £900m worth of conservation projects during Tim’s tenure. He leaves us in a strong position, despite the challenges the pandemic has brought. It is a matter of huge gratitude and pride that the places in our care are reopening to visitors.”

Paul Roberts, Senior Member of the National Trust Council, the body responsible for appointing the chair and trustees of the charity said:

“The role of chair of the National Trust is important – the organisation reaches into the lives of millions of people – from the museums and collections in our care to the rivers, coastline and countryside we look after. Overseeing the organisation’s work and ensuring it is fit for the future is a challenging task and we’re deeply grateful to Tim for rising to it so well, particularly during the pandemic.”