Natural History Museum appoints Amazon UK boss as director

Amazon’s UK boss, Douglas Gurr, has been announced as the new director of the Natural History Museum.

The global retail giant has faced controversy over its environmental impact, with employees publicly criticising the company.

Mr Gurr, the former president of Amazon China, said he is “passionate” about the work that the museum is doing to tackle climate change.

“The Natural History Museum’s vision of a future where people and planet thrive has never been more relevant and it is a privilege to be invited to lead this globally important cultural and scientific institution,” he said.

“I am passionate about the work the museum is doing to tackle the planetary emergency by using its unrivalled collection and leading scientific research to connect millions of people a year with nature. I can’t wait to join the team.”

Douglas Gurr has been announced as the new director of the Natural History Museum (Natural History Museum/PA)

Last year, thousands of Amazon employees signed an open letter to the company’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, saying its “leadership was urgently needed” on climate change.

Mr Gurr, who will be leaving Amazon, starts his new job later this year, at what is a difficult time for museums as they resume operations after the end of lockdown.

The Amazon UK boss hit the headlines in 2018 when he was reported to have warned that there could be “civil unrest” within two weeks if Britain leaves the European Union with no deal.

His appointment has been approved by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Mr Gurr was chairman of the board of the Science Museum from 2010 to 2014 and president of Amazon China from 2014 to 2016.

Current museum director Sir Michael Dixon announced last year that he would be stepping down.

Natural History Museum chairman Lord Stephen Green said: “Doug’s academic background, considerable experience in working with public service organisations and digital understanding make him ideal to lead our treasured museum in our mission to create advocates for the planet.”

In 2019, Amazon pledged to be carbon-neutral by 2040 as it announced “the largest order ever of electric delivery vehicles”.

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