Rene Olivieri is to become the new chairman of the National Trust, the charity has announced.
Mr Olivieri, who is chairman of the animal charity the RSPCA and has held a number of non-executive roles in the cultural and natural heritage sector, will take up the post with the trust in February.
The moves comes following his predecessor Tim Parker’s decision to step down in May after seven years in the position.
Mr Olivieri had a career first as editorial director and then as chief executive of the publisher Blackwell.
He was interim chairman of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and a member of both the Culture Recovery Fund Board and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Cultural and Heritage Capital Advisory Board.
He was chairman of the Wildlife Trusts for six years and has held the role at the RSPCA since 2019.
He said he was delighted at the prospect of chairing the National Trust, saying: “As a charity and national institution with a 126-year history, it’s uniquely placed to recognise the debt to the generations that have gone before and its responsibility to those which follow.
“I believe the National Trust is the body that makes essential connections in our world, between the past and future, nature and heritage and between people from all parts of society.
“We must all work together to preserve and promote our heritage while taking climate action and restoring nature.
“I want to ensure the National Trust, which is privileged to be able to take such a long view, plays a leading role in realising these ambitions.”
Mr Olivieri’s role will be to provide leadership to the board of trustees and the council, and support and guide director-general Hilary McGrady and her team in delivering the strategy of the charity, which has more than five million members.
Ms McGrady said: “I’m delighted Rene is joining us as chair.
“We have the same ambition: to give as many people as possible access to the incredible collections, houses, land and coastline that we care for on behalf of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Rene brings passion, knowledge and a superb blend of skills and I am delighted to be able to work with him to fulfil our shared ambition.”