Glasgow School of Art has named a new interim chairwoman following the departure of Muriel Gray.

Kristen Bennie has taken up the role with the Board of Governors and said it was a privilege to take it on at an exciting time in the school's development.

Her appointment comes after it was revealed last month Ms Gray was to step down three years after a second fire engulfed the building.

HeraldScotland: Glasgow School of Art saw two fires break out in four yearsGlasgow School of Art saw two fires break out in four years

Ms Gray said it has been “the greatest honour” to help with governing the institution but that it is time for a “fresh, energetic, and long-term committed person” to take over the role.

The world-renowned Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed Mackintosh Building at the art school was extensively damaged by a blaze in June 2018 while it was undergoing a £35 million restoration following a previous fire in May 2014.

Ms Bennie is agraduate of Northwestern University in Chicago, where she studied Art Theory and Practice, INSEAD, Paris, and the University of Cambridge.

She is Director of Partnerships and Open Experience (OX) at NatWest Group. She joined the GSA Board in autumn 2019 and is currently convenor of the Human Resources Committee.

HeraldScotland: Kristen Bennie has been appointed as interim chairwomanKristen Bennie has been appointed as interim chairwoman

She said: “It is a huge privilege to be selected to take on the role as Interim Chair of The Board of Governors at this exciting time in the School’s development.

 

“Art Schools play a key role in nurturing the skills and creative talent that will be required to address some of the greatest challenges we face today; a world that has only recently experienced such a life-changing event as a global Covid Pandemic and a climate crisis that threatens irreparable damage to our planet.

 

“As a global leader in creative education the GSA is already bringing innovative thinking not only to how we live today, but to the kind of world we want in the future.”

GSA Director Professor Penny Macbeth said she was delighted with the appointment adding:“Kristen has extensive experience in the areas of design and innovation with particular expertise in driving transformation and developing strategic partnerships, which will be invaluable to the GSA in this pivotal phase of our development.”

HeraldScotland: Glasgow School of Art is looking ahead to its future developmentGlasgow School of Art is looking ahead to its future development

It was also announced today that the Board had been further strengthened with the addition of four new expert independent members: Professor Anne Trefethen, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of Oxford with responsibility for GLAM (Gardens, Libraries and Museums); Professor Graham Caie, Emeritus Professor and Honorary Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow; Dr Simon Learoyd, a hugely experienced financial services professional; and Dr Graham Sharp, an expert in finance, strategy, governance and regulation.

In June the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said that the investigation into the 2018 fire is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.