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.