Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Arts Council England job for dame

Liz Forgan. Copyright: Debra Hurford Brown
Dame Liz Forgan began her career in print journalism before moving to TV

Dame Liz Forgan is to become the first woman to chair Arts Council England in its 62-year history, Culture Secretary Andy Burnham has confirmed.

She will replace current chairman Sir Christopher Frayling, for a four-year tenure, from 1 February.

She said was delighted to contribute to "a golden age of creativity".

Dame Liz, who previously headed up the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund, was formerly managing director of BBC Network Radio.

Mr Burnham said the next few years would be "an exciting and challenging time" for the arts world.

"It will have to deliver big initiatives, such as the Cultural Olympiad and free theatre tickets for under-26s, against an increasingly demanding financial background.

"I am sure that Liz Forgan's experience working in the worlds of heritage and media, coupled with her interests in the arts, will serve her well in the role and and I look forward to working with her."

Liz joins us at a period of great change for the Arts Council as we redefine our relationship with artists and audiences
Alan Davey
Arts Council England chief executive

Dame Liz began her career in newspaper journalism before moving into television at Channel 4 where she became head of programmes.

She joined the BBC in 1993, leaving as head of radio five years later, and is currently a board member of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama and chairwoman of the Scott Trust.

She said she was "delighted to have the opportunity to contribute" to the future of Arts Council England.

Outgoing chairman Sir Christopher said Dame Liz would "certainly prove a hard act to precede".

And Arts Council England chief executive Alan Davey said he was "thrilled" at her involvement in "this next chapter".

"Liz joins us at a period of great change for the Arts Council as we redefine our relationship with artists and audiences so that we can better realise the ambition and potential the arts offer," he added.

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