Richard Johnston announced as new chair of Creative Skillset

Richard Johnston, CEO of Endemol Shine UK, has been announced as the new chair of industry skills body, Creative Skillset.

Richard Johnston, CEO of Endemol Shine UK, has been announced as the new chair of industry skills body, Creative Skillset. Johnston takes over from Dinah Caine CBE, Creative Skillset’s interim chair over the last 18 months.

The appointment comes at a time when the creative industries is one of five sectors headlining the Government’s new industrial strategy and reflects Creative Skillset’s increasing focus on the UK screen-based creative industries.

Johnston, who became a Creative Skillset Board member in April 2016, said: “I’m delighted to be taking up this role at such an important time for the Creative Industries. They generate huge value for the economy and lead the world in creative excellence. The UK film, TV and related sectors are thriving but the need for a highly skilled workforce across the full breadth of the industry has never been more crucial...

Richard Johnston said: "I am very much looking forward to working with Board members, partners and policymakers to build and develop the fantastic work Creative Skillset has done to ensure that our industry continues to be the envy of the world.” 

Seetha Kumar, CEO, Creative Skillset said: “Richard’s industry knowledge, experience and leadership will be incredibly valuable as Creative Skillset moves into its next phase. I look forward to working with him and maintaining a strong relationship that will future-proof our growth. My sincere thanks goes to interim Chair, Dinah Caine, who has agreed to stay on as a Board member to help support our policy and lobbying work.”

Dinah Caine CBE, outgoing Chair, Creative Skillset said: "I will continue to champion skills for the Creative Industries both as a Creative Skillset Board member and as a member of the Creative Industries Council. We also want to thank Board members who have recently stepped down, Betty Jackson CBE; Stephen Woodford, CEO of the Advertising Association; Christine Payne, General Secretary at Equity and Mark Batho, Vice Principal at Abertay University, for their great work and commitment.  We are also extremely grateful to Vice Chair M.T. Rainey and all our Board members, Alex Hope, David Abraham, Ian Livingstone, Ivan Dunleavy, Stephanie Mills, John Woodward and Stephen Page, for their huge support during this period of transition."

Notes to editors

Creative Skillset works with the UK’s screen-based creative industries to develop professional skills and talent.

Recent high profile additions to Creative Skillset’s Board include Mark Linsey, Director BBC Studios and Louise Grainger, Marketing, Events, Training and Membership, Equity, representing the Federation of Entertainment Unions.  The following three industry skills councils Chairs are also joining the Board: Sam Jukes-Adams Executive Coach and Senior TV Production Consultant, Chair, High End TV Council,  Bella Lambourne, HR and Operations Director, Endemol Shine UK and Chair of the TV Skills Council and Iain Smith OBE, Applecross Productions, Chair of British Film Commission and Chair of the Film Skills Council.

Creative Skillset Board members:

  • Richard Johnston, CEO, Endemol Shine UK and Chair, Creative Skillset
  • M. T. Rainey OBE, Deputy Chair, Channel 4 and Vice Chair, Creative Skillset
  • David Abraham, Chief Executive, Channel 4
  • Dinah Caine CBE
  • Ivan Dunleavy, Chief Executive, Pinewood
  • Louise Grainger, Equity representing Federation of Entertainment Unions
  • Alex Hope OBE, Managing Director, Double Negative
  • Sam Jukes-Adams, Executive Coach and Senior TV Production Consultant
  • Bella Lambourne, HR and Operations Director, Endemol Shine UK
  • Mark Linsey, Director, BBC Studios
  • Stephanie Mills, Group Financial Controller, Channel 4 (ex-officio Chair F&A)
  • Ian Livingstone CBE, Non-executive chairman, Sumo Digital
  • Stephen Page, CEO, Faber and Faber
  • Iain Smith OBE, Applecross Productions
  • John Woodward, Managing Director, Arts Alliance

New Board members will be being announced over the coming months. 

Richard Johnston is Chief Executive Officer of Endemol Shine UK, the UK’s largest independent production company.

The UK group is comprised of a diverse range of production companies and labels which together produces over 2000 hours of content a year across a range of platforms. Output includes shows such as Big Brother, Black Mirror, Broadchurch, Fortitude, Humans, Hunted, Masterchef, Mr Bean, One Born Every Minute, Peaky Blinders, Pointless, The Island, The Fall, 8 Out of 10 Cats and many more including industry leading work in the digital and branded content space. 

Richard was appointed CEO in January 2015 having overseen the merger of the Endemol and Shine companies in the UK. He began his television career in 1996 when he joined Bazal Productions, the independent production company established by Sir Peter Bazalgette, as Financial Controller. Bazal later became part of Endemol where Richard went on to hold a number of senior positions including Joint Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.

Richard is a Trustee of LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) and joined the Creative Skillset Board in June 2016 and is committed to improving education, training and access to the Creative Industries. He is also an elected member of the PACT Council representing the interests of its members across the UK independent production landscape. 

Mark Linsey, Director, BBC Studios

Mark was appointed Director, BBC Studios on 22 March 2016. Before that, he was Acting Director, Television. He was previously Controller, Entertainment Commissioning and Deputy Director, Television.  As Controller, Entertainment Commissioning, he was responsible for programmes including Strictly Come Dancing, The Apprentice, Michael McIntyre's Big Saturday Night Show, The Voice, Top Gear, The Graham Norton Show, Have I Got New For You, MasterChef, Comic Relief and the BAFTA Film Awards, Mark joined BBC Entertainment Commissioning in February 2007, first as a commissioning editor then as an executive editor. During this time, he was responsible for, amongst others, all Lottery formats, Children In Need, The Royal Variety Performance and Total Wipeout. 

Prior to this he was Director of Entertainment at Talent Television, developing and producing new entertainment and factual entertainment formats including 9/11 Millionaire Widows (Channel 4), The Man With 80 Wives (Channel 4) and Queen Of The Universe (Channel 4).  From mid-2001 to 2004, Mark was Managing Director of Zeal TV, and from 1997 to 2001 was Head of Entertainment at Tiger Aspect. Before this he was a freelance series producer working across a host of entertainment formats for all broadcasters, including The Lily Savage Show (BBC One), You Bet (ITV), Something For The Weekend (Channel 4).

Louise Grainger, Marketing, Events, Training and Membership, Equity

Louise is responsible for Marketing, Events, Training and Membership Services for Equity. As part of this broad role she established Equity's very successful Student Membership scheme and currently leads the Federation of Entertainment Union's (FEU) work with the award-winning FEU Training programme, funded by government via UnionLearn, which provides free workshops and online training in business skills and personal development for members of Equity, The Musicians Union, The Writers Guild of Great Britain and the NUJ.  She delivers a wide-ranging programme of workshops and panel events throughout the year including an intensive week of such activities at the Edinburgh Festivals. Other FEU work includes Creating without Conflict - the ongoing campaign promoting anti-bullying within the industry.  

Louise is also responsible for Equity's work on mental well-being and is a driving force behind the ArtsMinds project and manages - an open access support resource about mental health within the entertainment industry.  One of Equity's most visible members of staff, Louise's role takes her all over the UK and beyond with a current emphasis on engaging with members based in North America.  Away from Equity, Louise is a Director of Seaforth Lodge (Management) Ltd, a member of the committee of the City of London Guides and Lecturers Association and a Freeman of the City of London.

Bella Lambourne, HR and Operations Director, Endemol Shine UK, Chair of TV Skills Fund

Bella Lambourne originally joined documentary producer Hawkshead as General Manager in 1993 and after the group expanded to become Broadcast Communications took responsibility as UK Group Head of Human Resources in 1997. Bella was promoted to Human Resources Director for Endemol UK in 2002 and also oversees the administrative and operational functions of the group.

In addition to her Endemol UK role Bella was promoted to Global Head of Human Resources at Endemol Group in March 2011, she now focusses on people and talent management for the 25 Endemol Shine UK companies. Bella is passionate about improving diversity and talent development both on and off screen. Bella is chair of Creative Skillset TV Skills Fund, a board member of Creative Skillset and the Indie Training Fund.  She also sits on the PACT Diversity Committee and the CDN steering group.’

Sam Jukes-Adams, Executive Coach and Senior TV Production Consultant, Chair, High End TV Council

Sam has over twenty years’ experience working with and within independent TV production companies, domestic and international broadcasters and, multinational corporations.  Throughout this time, she has been a passionate advocate for the development of talent and teams, and is now an official mentor on the Women in Film and TV's 2017 mentoring programme.

She is currently developing her Coaching approach to a Senior Practitioner level with Tavistock Consulting Group (accredited by EMCC).  From taking up authority after a promotion, to coping with restructuring or leading challenging tasks and teams, Sam helps clients gain insight into, and address, the personal and organisation dynamics that contribute to their professional effectiveness.  Sam works with clients around the world, both face-to-face and online.

Iain Smith OBE, Chair, British Film Commission, the Film Industry Training Board, and the Film Skills Council

Iain Smith, born and raised in Glasgow, is one of the UK’s most experienced film producers.

He has served on the boards of the UK Film Council, Scottish Screen, the Joint board of Creative Scotland and the Children's Film and Television Foundation. He has been a Governor of the National Film and Television School, and Chair of the Edinburgh International Film Festival. He is a patron of the London Film School, and sits on the Advisory Board of the Scottish Screen and Media Academy, the Media Academy Wales, and is a board member of the Production Guild of Great Britain.

In 2005 he was awarded a BAFTA for Outstanding Achievement in Film, and was made an OBE in 2008.  Iain Smith has produced many successful and award-winning films around the world, including most recently the Oscar-winning Mad Max: Fury Road. 

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