A HEREFORDSHIRE festival has welcomed a new chief executive to replace its co-founder, who resigned after a bullying complaint was upheld by an investigation panel.

Peter Florence, who co-founded the world-famous Hay Festival in 1988, was suspended on October 1, 2020, when a formal complaint of bullying made by a member of staff was upheld.

Julie Finch is the new chief executive officer of Hay Festival, replacing co-founder Peter FlorenceCo-founder Peter Florence was suspended in 2020

Speaking at the time, chair of Hay Festival Caroline Michel said: "Peter Florence was suspended on 1 October pending the outcome of a grievance procedure initiated by one of our staff.

"He has since been signed off sick, which has delayed the conclusion of that process."

Julie Finch is the new chief executive officer of Hay Festival, replacing co-founder Peter FlorenceNew chief executive officer Julie Finch Picture: Billie Charity

RELATED NEWS:

Hay Festival confirmed Mr Florence would be resigning from his post of more than 30 years in August last year.

The appointment of Julie Finch was made on behalf of Hay Festival's board of directors after an extensive nationwide recruitment process.

A registered charity, Hay Festival is one of the world's best known cultural events, bringing readers and writers together around the world with programmes to inspire, examine and entertain.

Based in the Festival's head office – The Drill Hall in Hay-on-Wye, Wales – she will start her role in August 2022.

She will be responsible for leading a new organisational strategy, enhancing the organisation's national and international standing, reach, impact, engagement with existing and new audiences, and its long-term sustainability.

Hay Festival chair Caroline Michel said: "We are delighted to appoint Julie Finch as chief executive officer of Hay Festival and welcome her vast experience as we continue to forge an exciting future here and further afield.

OTHER NEWS:

"With a proven track record of strong leadership, effective strategy development and widening cultural participation, Julie's appointment opens a thrilling new chapter for Hay Festival and our industry more widely."

Julie Finch is the new chief executive officer of Hay Festival, replacing co-founder Peter FlorenceMost recently Julie Finch was chief executive director of Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park Picture: Billie Charity

She has over 20 years' experience in the cultural and creative sectors.

Her leadership roles include chief executive of The Cheltenham Trust, project director of Boola Bardip Western Australian Museum and director of Bristol Museums Galleries and Archives Service.

Most recently she was chief executive director of Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, where she has developed and led the revisioning programme and the 10-year strategy.

Julie Finch said: "As a Hay Festival regular over many years, I am pleased to be joining the charity as it continues to deliver world-leading events and reimagine the role a festival can play in our cultural landscape and contemporary society.

"I am grateful to the board for their trust in my vision and look forward to working with the whole team as we plot a future that's both daring and sustainable."