Landsec’s Hogg hopes to hit right note as Royal Opera House chair

Business

The chair of Landsec, the FTSE-100 commercial property group, is on a shortlist of contenders to take the helm at the Royal Opera House, one of Britain’s most important cultural sector jobs.

Sky News has learnt that Cressida Hogg, who is preparing to step down from the Landsec post, is among a small number of candidates being considered to replace David Ross, who quit last year.

Ms Hogg is understood to be vying with rivals including Sir Lloyd Dorfman, the Travelex founder, who already sits on the ROH’s board of trustees.

The ROH kicked off a formal search for its new chair in February, although Mr Ross, who also chairs the National Portrait Gallery, resigned from the Covent Garden-based organisation nearly nine months prior to that.

Since Mr Ross’s departure, Sir Simon Robey, a City banker who previously chaired the ROH, has stepped back in as interim chairman.

Its trustees include prominent figures such as Lord Browne, the former BP chief executive, and Lady Heywood, widow of the former Cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood.

The pandemic forced the ROH to seek an emergency loan from the government’s Arts Recovery Fund to remain afloat.

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It is funded by an annual grant from Arts Council England as well as from ticket sales and private donations – an area where Mr Ross and other board members have had track records as prolific fundraisers.

In November 2020, Mr Ross stepped in to shore up the Opera House’s finances by purchasing David Hockney’s portrait of the late Sir David Webster, the institution’s former chief executive.

Mr Ross paid a reported £12.8m, including fees, for the painting, which he immediately loaned back to the ROH to continue hanging there.

The ROH has been contacted for comment.

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