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Royal Albert Hall appoints James Ainscough as CEO

Ainscough, who is a former COO of the venue, is currently CEO of charity Help Musicians and will re-join the Hall in late spring

By James Hanley on 09 Jan 2023

James Ainscough

London’s Royal Albert Hall has announced the appointment of James Ainscough as its new chief executive officer.

Ainscough is currently CEO of charity Help Musicians and will join the Hall in late spring.

Ainscough was formerly with the Royal Albert Hall from January 2008 to December 2017, initially as director of finance and administration and then as chief operating officer. He oversaw strategic and day-to-day artistic and commercial operations, customer services, marketing, fundraising, facilities and business services.

“The Royal Albert Hall has always been close to my heart,” he says. “It has been a privilege to lead Help Musicians for the past five years and the charity is in now in good spirit with a clear strategy, a strong sense of purpose, and a wonderful team of staff, trustees and partners. Only a really special opportunity, like ‘coming home’ to the Royal Albert Hall, could have tempted me to leave.

“We will do all we can to support and nurture the wider music ecosystem of which we are an integral part”

“There are multiple challenges ahead but those are what most energise me. I could not be more excited to return to work with the Hall’s dedicated team. Together we will ensure the Hall offers the most amazing events and experiences to the most diverse audiences. And recognising its privilege as a prominent and much-loved venue, we will do all we can to support and nurture the wider music ecosystem of which we are an integral part.”

Ainscough succeeds Craig Hassall, who stepped down as CEO last month to become president and chief executive of Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio. Dan Freeman, the Hall’s COO, will continue to act as Interim CEO until Ainscough starts his new role.

“James combines a passion for the promotion of music and cultural enlightenment with the vision and business skills required to lead the Hall through its next phase, applying financial prudence to extending our reach and our artistic ambitions,” says Royal Albert Hall president Ian McCulloch. “The Royal Albert Hall will benefit greatly from James’ experience, talent, enthusiasm and determination. We are delighted that he will soon be re-joining the team.”


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