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Board of Trustees

The National Trust's Annual General Meeting 2019 in the Steam Museum, Swindon
The National Trust's 2019 AGM in the Steam Museum, Swindon | © Restrictions National Trust Images/Paul Harris

The Board of Trustees is the National Trust’s governing body. It is ultimately responsible for everything that happens at the Trust and for meeting its statutory purpose. Learn more about what the Trustees do and who sits on the Board.

What does the Board of Trustees do?

The Board does not manage the Trust – its job is to ensure the Trust is managed the way it wishes to be. The Board does this by agreeing a strategy and holding the Director-General and his/her executive team to account for its delivery.

The Board of Trustees normally meets six times a year, including visits to the Trust’s regions.

How are Trustees appointed?

There are normally 12 Trustees on the Board but there can be up to 15, and they come from a variety of backgrounds, from conservation to business.

All Trustees are appointed by the Council for an initial term of three years and are eligible to re-stand. Members normally serve for two terms in order to ensure a balance of continuity and refreshment.

About the current Trustees


René Olivieri

René Olivieri was appointed Chair of the National Trust in February 2022. René moved from the United States to the UK in 1980 to become first editorial director and then chief executive of the international scientific and scholarly publisher, Blackwell.

In 2007 he became Chair of Tubney Charitable Trust, a major grant maker, supporting animal welfare and nature conservation charities. He then served as chair of the Wildlife Trusts for six years, before joining the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2018, where he was initially the senior independent director and subsequently Interim Chair. He was a member of the £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund Board and continues to serve on the government’s Cultural and Heritage Capital Advisory Board. Since becoming Chair of the RSPCA in 2019, he has overseen the modernisation of that organisation’s governance, finances and strategy.

Through his career in publishing, René has extensive experience of scientific research and higher education and has published peer-reviewed articles himself; he was a member of the board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England for many years. René cares deeply about biodiversity and the environment but he is also passionate about our built heritage and feels strongly that the pleasure and benefits of both nature and heritage should be open to everyone.

René is an avid horseman, tennis player, and theatregoer. He and his family live in Worcestershire where they share the extensive gardens of their home with the public and host, jointly with the Royal Shakespeare Company, an annual Tulip Festival.

National Trust chairman Rene Olivieri
Rene Olivieri | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

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