Saxton Bampfylde Recruits CEO for the Royal Albert Hall

February 22, 2023 – U.K.-based executive recruiter Saxton Bampfylde has placed James Ainscough as the new CEO of the Royal Albert Hall in London. Craig Hassall stepped down from the role in December. Dan Freeman, Royal Albert Hall’s chief operating officer, will continue to act as interim CEO until Mr. Ainscough starts in the late spring.

Mr. Ainscough joins the Royal Albert Hall from Help Musicians, a charity for professional musicians of all genres, both in work and in retirement, where he is CEO. The pandemic was truly a crisis for many musicians and, under Mr. Ainscough’s leadership, Help Musicians gave essential support, including distributing £20m of financial hardship funding, providing a multi-million-pound career-rebuilding support program, and launching the Music Minds Matter charity providing mental health care for the entire music industry.

Mr. Ainscough was formerly with the Royal Albert Hall from 2008 to 2017, initially as director of finance and administration and then as chief operating officer. He oversaw strategic and day-to-day artistic and commercial operations, customer services, marketing, fundraising, facilities, and business services.

“James combines a passion for the promotion of music and cultural enlightenment with the vision and business skills required to lead the Hall through its next phase, applying financial prudence to extending our reach and our artistic ambitions,” said Ian McCulloch, president of the Royal Albert Hall. “The Royal Albert Hall will benefit greatly from James’ experience, talent, enthusiasm, and determination. We are delighted that he will soon be re-joining the team.”

“The Royal Albert Hall has always been close to my heart,” said Mr. Ainscough. “It has been a privilege to lead Help Musicians for the past five years and the charity is in now in good spirit with a clear strategy, a strong sense of purpose, and a wonderful team of staff, trustees, and partners. Only a really special opportunity, like ‘coming home’ to the Royal Albert Hall, could have tempted me to leave.”

“There are multiple challenges ahead but those are what most energize me,” Mr. Ainscough said. “I could not be more excited to return to work with the Hall’s dedicated team. Together we will ensure the Hall offers the most amazing events and experiences to the most diverse audiences. And recognizing its privilege as a prominent and much-loved venue, we will do all we can to support and nurture the wider music ecosystem of which we are an integral part.”

Related: Bridge Partners Recruits CFO for the San Francisco Symphony

The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall on the northern edge of South Kensington, London. One of the U.K.’s most treasured and distinctive buildings, it is held in trust for the nation and managed by a registered charity which receives no government funding. Since the hall’s opening by Queen Victoria in 1871, the world’s leading artists from many performance genres have appeared on its stage. 

Employee Owned Business

Saxton Bampfylde is an employee owned business founded in 1986 and is now one of the world’s leading independent executive search firms and leadership consultancies. With offices in London and Edinburgh, the firm brings a partnership approach to its work and has a strong belief in open and transparent communication. Saxton Bampfylde’s clients include FTSE 100 companies and blue-chip multinationals, across government and academia, through to foundation trust hospitals, arts institutions, and not-for-profit organizations. The firm is a founding member of Panorama, a global community of over 400 leadership experts working together to promote a diverse perspective of leadership.

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Stephen Bampfylde is co-founder and chairman of Saxton Bampfylde. He began his career working for IBM and Whitehall, where he spent nearly 10 years before moving into top-level executive search. For 27 years he has been involved in the recruitment of executives to senior positions across all sectors. He helped establish the worldwide professional association AESC in Europe and was its international director for a number of years. Outside executive search, he has been involved with the advisory boards of the business schools at Cambridge and City universities, is a trustee of the Yvonne Arnaud Theater, and is former chairman of the Guildford Cathedral Council.

Related: Saxton Bampfylde Recruits Vice Chancellor and President for Loughborough University 

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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