National Trust for Scotland names V&A Dundee director as new chief executive

The founding director of V&A Dundee is moving on to become chief executive of the National Trust for Scotland (NTS).

Philip Long will start his new role once Simon Skinner retires from the conservation charity in July.

V&A Dundee said it will begin its search for a new director immediately.

Mr Long was appointed as V&A Dundee’s founding director in 2011 to lead the development of all aspects of the art museum from its early planning to its opening in September 2018.

He said: “It is a great honour to be appointed as the new chief executive of the National Trust for Scotland, an organisation which I greatly admire and whose properties I’ve enjoyed for many years.

“The trust is invaluable to our nation. The buildings and landscape in its care, which it makes accessible to millions of visitors every year, are truly world-class, defining our country’s heritage, culture and identity at its most outstanding.

“I am looking forward immensely to joining the trust’s team and am fortunate to be succeeding Simon Skinner, who I would like to thank for his outstanding work.”

He added: “Leading the team which opened V&A Dundee has been a real privilege.

“Scotland’s design museum has a remarkable, passionate team driving it forward and I wish them all the very best for V&A Dundee’s continued success and for the vital role it is playing in that city and nationally.”

Mr Long received an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2020 for services to culture and heritage.

Before joining V&A Dundee, he was senior curator at the National Galleries of Scotland.

Sir Mark Jones, chairman of the NTS, said: “I can speak for the board of trustees in saying we are delighted that Philip Long has agreed to become the charity’s chief executive.

“His background in Scottish art and design is impeccable and his proven leadership skills, with which he led the V&A Dundee project to an acclaimed conclusion, will be a considerable asset to us as we face the challenges of the future.

“He has formidable knowledge of collections and exhibitions, which I am sure will be put to good use as we seek to make our properties more engaging and accessible to more people.”

Sir Mark added: “I also want to offer my profound thanks to Simon Skinner.

“He has selflessly agreed to stay on longer as chief executive to ensure continuity of leadership pending Philip’s arrival in July.

“Simon’s contribution to the reform and modernisation of the Trust over the last five years has been immense and his leadership skills have shone through yet again during the current public health emergency.”

V&A Dundee opened on September 15 2018 and welcomed one million visitors in its first 500 days.

Tim Allan, chairman of the V&A Dundee board, said: “Philip Long’s personal leadership, energy and commitment over nine years have seen the vision for V&A Dundee become reality.

“This is naturally poignant news for us to say farewell to the founding director of V&A Dundee but we are proud that he is moving on to lead such a nationally important organisation responsible for the care of Scotland’s heritage.”